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Wiltshire Police Tri-Force Collaboration collapse probed

December 1, 2016 2:13 PM

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire revealed in November that a proposed collaboration with police forces in Gloucestershire and Avon & Somerset will not now go ahead.

Avon & Somerset has pulled out of the Tri-Force Collaboration Programme after previously having signed up to the project.

The Programme concerned the merger of 'back office' functions. The A & S withdrawal does not affect the operational collaborations already in existence, such as roads policing, serious crime, guns, and dogs.

The Commissioner and his team were quizzed on the situation at a meeting of the Wilts & Swindon Police and Crime Panel on 1st December. Here's a summary of the response:

What options were being looked at?

Merging of financial, HR and IT systems to get efficiencies and savings through economies of scale. Various levels were considered, involving about 65% of back-office functions, 85% or 100%. Wiltshire preferred the 85% solution which gave savings without sacrificing complete independence. Additional items could have been phased in later if all went well.

What went wrong?

Avon and Somerset are in the process of getting out of their 'South West One' contract. This will pre-occupy them for the next six months.

So why not wait six months and then press on?

It's not as simple as that. There are also cultural differences between us and A&S which would make full co-operation difficult.

Why wasn't that noticed previously?

(No clear response)

Will the co-operation with Gloucestershire still go ahead?

Yes, involving co-operation on IT systems, HR and other back-office functions.

Not the big fix then?

No, but still a little fix

How much has this failed process cost?

(No response)

What about the future financing of the police service?

We'd hoped for savings through this process. Now we'll have to look for savings elsewhere.