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Does Scotland point the way for policing in Yorkshire?

April 7, 2013

 

Interesting comments last week by the Chief Constable of Scotland’s new national police service when he suggested that the merger of forces north of the border could be emulated in England and Wales.

Eight forces are being combined to form Police Scotland which took over the country’s policing on April 1st.

On the BBC website it reports an interview with the Chief Constable, Steve House, where he says it is unsustainable to maintain 43 separate police forces south of the border.

Mr House said: “My personal view is that structural change is inevitable down south.”

Might this then be an opportunity for a combined Yorkshire police force? After all Yorkshire is a tangible community in the same way as Scotland is and the population sizes are pretty much identical. If the Scots can find a way to balance policing in urban and rural areas then Yorkshire could undoubtedly do the same. Interestingly, the merging of mounted police units and underwater (diver) units across the region has already been discussed and some of this is being implemented. Whether costly duplication of services or the consequences of austerity is the cause of this depends on who is commenting at the time but as with all these things a thorough and independent impact assessment should be carried out ahead of a decision on a merged Yorkshire police force.

Steve House is going to make excessive alcohol consumption and all the problems that come with it a priority for his new force in Scotland. This makes a lot of sense. Police forces should have the ability to address specific issues in their communities. It could be that in turn a new Yorkshire Constabulary might look at two issues as priorities. Given the local roots of Jimmy Savile and the resultant enquiry, the first priority would be a crackdown on underage sexual abuse and, following up on the work of Nick Kinsella in Sheffield which set the blueprint for a national unit, the second priority could be anti-human trafficking. After all it was William Wilberforce a Yorkshire MP who campaigned so rigorously to end the slave trade. Would it be too much to see Yorkshire free of human trafficking in the 21st century?

 

 

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3 Comments
  1. Nigel Sollitt permalink

    No doubt ‘Police Scotland’ was conceived of economic reasoning. Why should Scottish tax payers foot the bill for the structures and resources of eight police authorities when they only need foot the bill for one, with no loss in level of service? In fact, the Scottish communities may well enjoy greater level of service due to the synergy that such restructure could create with carefully implementation. This means that more revenue will be available to improve other services in Scotland. Scotland have realised that their population can be effectively and more efficiently managed by one authority. Surely then, as the populations of Yorkshire and Scotland are very similar, a ‘Police Yorkshire’ would bring similar benefits to Yorkshire?

    There is, however, a principle here that should be considered. If the populations of Scotland and Yorkshire can enjoy benefits of efficiency by being effectively manageable by one body in respect of policing, their populations must also be able to enjoy benefits of efficiency by being manageable by one body in other respects, such as devolved government, which Scotland does have! So why is it that instead of a devolved government for all Yorkshire, the UK government has embarked upon a programme of deals of devolution to Yorkshires numerous city regions?

    • Richard Carter permalink

      Good points. I think its an example of a once size fits all approach is not optimum for us in Yorkshire. It might be appropriate elsewhere in England but it just looks like an attempt at divide and rule to me! Scotland is an excellent example for us in Yorkshire and fantastic ammunition to use against any ‘No to Yorkshire’ campaign.
      It would be great to understand a little more on how voters perceptions to devolution from before devo to now… I guess this might be further confused by the referendum for independence but it would be useful all the same. I cannot find any up to date info on the ebb and flow of support for devolution in England. The range of support has previously swung from 14 to 24% over the ten years up to 2010. Does anyone know current support?

  2. There would appear to be nothing recent Richard. Incidentally could you reference the two polls you had seen?

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