Home Office has not paid up over merger

A Home Office promise to reimburse police forces for the cost of preparing for its ill-fated merger plans has not yet been fulfilled, Norfolk Police Authority was told today.

A Home Office promise to reimburse police forces for the cost of preparing for its ill-fated merger plans has not yet been fulfilled, Norfolk Police Authority was told today.

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire police are owed a combined total of £420,000 for the work carried out to assess the viability of the scheme before its collapse in July. Forces were invited to apply for a rebate from the government but so far no money has been received.

In Norfolk alone it is hoped £140,000 spent on consultation meetings, research and other exercises will be reimbursed. The actual cost of the merger collapse to the force is estimated at £340,000 but most of this is ineligible under government criteria.

Applications for the refund have been submitted but forces have not received any confirmation from the Home Office despite it being nearly three months since the merger collapse.

Rupert Birtles, assistant chief officer for Norfolk police, told a police authority meeting: “We submitted our claim by the deadline but we have not yet had a response.”

It comes at a time when the authority is examining cost cutting measures in anticipation of a funding crisis in coming years. Plans to make several redundancies in the criminal justice unit were announced last week.

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The police authority had been in favour of the merger plans saying it would prepare the force for the future.