Police bosses from three counties have taken another step toward working more closely together.
The chief constables and police and crime commissioners of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire have agreed two outline business cases.
Although details have not yet been fleshed out, the two schemes would mean more joint working with victim support, supporting witnesses, and submitting files to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Beds, Herts and Cambs Police have formed a strategic alliance, as the three forces need to find savings of £56.6million by 2019/20.
Andy Bliss, Chief Constable for Hertfordshire, said: “This is an important step forward as the three forces continue to work together to find significant savings in the years ahead.
“We are committed to delivering the best possible Custody and Criminal Justice provision and will be taking on board the views of staff, the public, other forces and industry leaders as we look to progress collaboration proposals for these two functions.”
Although the schemes have been given the green light by the six heads they will now go to a project team to be developed.
A more detailed report will be put forward to the chief constables and police and crime commissioners later this year.
Olly Martins, PCC for Bedfordshire, said: “Realising savings is an important part of collaboration, but it also presents a unique opportunity to re-organise to improve our service to the public.
“The agreements reached at the summit put us on the path to achieving this.”
David Lloyd, PCC for Hertfordshire, added: “The business case for custody and criminal justice presents us with an excellent opportunity to review and align processes across the three forces to ensure they fully support the needs of victims, witnesses and detainees across our three diverse counties. The agreements reached at the summit put us on the path to achieving this.
“The most important driver for collaboration is to realise savings so that we can protect local policing, and I have always maintained that I will not endorse any project if it means that the people of Hertfordshire get a reduced level of service to that they currently enjoy. The work to collaborate across criminal justice and custody aims to speed up justice, which is good news for everyone, including the communities of the county I represent.”
He added: “I have recently ensured that victims have been put formally at the heart of all that we do in Hertfordshire. I have embedded a new strand of ‘putting victims at the centre’ into my refreshed Police and Crime Plan because I believe that victims need a voice and must have choices about the service they receive. I will make sure that this thread is taken up in the outline business case for criminal justice and custody going forward.”