Hampshire Constabulary has announced plans to streamline some of its services with that of neighbouring forces, which could result in the loss of jobs it was warned.
The county police force is one of 5 county forces along with Kent, Thames Valley, Surrey and Sussex which form the South East police region.
This region corresponds exactly with the area defined by the EU as being covered by the South East regional Assembly (Seera) one of 9 regional areas in England which cut across traditional shire and borough boundaries.
The overall long term plan is to amalgamate these forces into a single regional police force answerable to the regional assembly and ultimately Brussels rather than Westminster.
All the emergency services are being rationalised and this ongoing process is being trailed as an exercise in cost cutting designed to increase efficiency rather a part of a political process in transference of power.
Since April the South East forces have already started sharing functions like witness support and covert policing.
On July the 27th it is expected that Hampshire Police authority will approve further streamlining of vital services, eventually it is hoped to rationalise the forces IT services.
Any job losses are likely to hit civilian as well uniformed officers.
This comes as Home Secretary Theresa May warned the Association of Chief Police Officers that the police budget will not be safe from budget cuts
Experts have predicted that up to 35,000 police officers, 20,000 civilian staff and 4,000 community support officers will go nationally and Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said he expected an outcry from the public when the severity of the cuts becomes clear.
Cllr Jacqui Rayment, Chair of the SE Region Collaboration Project and Hampshire Police Authority said:
“At a time when public finances are under intense scrutiny, Hampshire Constabulary is one of a group of police forces that is already making significant savings by working together to provide regional services. This important work is set to continue, driving down costs and making services more efficient.
John Apter, Chair of Hampshire Police Federation said:
“’Working effectively with our neighbouring forces makes good economic sense.
However he also warned:
This should not be viewed as an opportunity to cut officer numbers, but an opportunity to share skills and provide an efficient service to those we serve”.
Hampshire Constabulary recently announced plans to sell its Winchester HQ and move to an industrial unit in Eastleigh – which is already home to the Headquarters of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.