Plans to merge specialist firearm provision, dog sections and intelligence across four forces mooted to alleviate financial and operational pressures.
Specialist functions across four forces including firearms, dog sections and intelligence could be merged to mitigate current financial pressures, it has emerged.
South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside Police are considering proposals to collaborate on firearms training and dog sections to strengthen the capability of provision as well as deliver cost savings.
The four forces have already entered into collaboration agreements with their marine units with the specialist provision now based at Humberside Police. They are also implementing plans for a regional scientific support unit hub next August.
Ch Insp Jim Haylett, of South Yorkshire Police, claimed that collaboration would not only save money, it would also to bolster resilience with the best specialist provision available.
In an interview with PoliceOracle.com he added: â€œIt could be in a forceâ€™s best interest to collaborate in certain areas because it gives them extra capability and capacity â€“ even if it is not about saving money.
â€œIn a lot of cases it is about delivering a return on investment because no force wants specialist officers or equipment not being used for three or four days in a week because demand is not there.â€
The collaboration proposals for firearms, which could be implemented in April next year, involve centralising training procedures with a single chief firearms instructor to cover the four forces.
Explaining the proposals Ch Insp Haylett said once the training manuals and firearms procedures from each force had been brought together and standardised, the instructor would then deliver an agreed training program to all officers.
He added: â€œThe instructor will be responsible for making sure the training procedures and delivery are the same across the region. It could be the beginning of further and deeper collaboration, which could include a regional training hub.
â€œThis means that if firearms officers from two forces are sent out on the same job they can be confident the terminology they use and the training they had will be the same.â€
An options document reviewing dog sections across the forces is currently being drawn up â€“ which could include assessing whether training, management or deployment should be merged.
Ch Insp Haylett said: â€œWe will be looking at the feasibility of provision in each force, whether there would be benefits in collaborating to some degree or whether it should stay within the force.
â€œSomething like training would be a more feasible option than merging deployment.â€
Another area being considered for collaboration, according to South Yorkshire Policeâ€™s local policing plan, is intelligence â€“ with the possibility of a â€œstructuralâ€ change to intelligence service across the forces.
However further details on which areas of intelligence would be collaborated on â€“ or how they would operate â€“ are not available.
Branch Federation leaders have voiced concern the push towards collaborating on specialist functions would dilute the provision available to the forces when they need it.
Jon Christopher, Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation told PoliceOracle.com his fear was current provision in the force would be watered down.
Neil Bowels, Chairman of South Yorkshire Police Federation added: â€œI am supportive if you can identify back office function that can be run more efficiently in order to keep front line function.
â€œThere is a fine balance between savings that need to be made and ensuring officers are well equipped and resourced to deliver their job safely.â€
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy’
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy’