Police buyers join forces

3 February 2011
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3 February 2011 | Angeline Albert

Three police forces in Wales have agreed to form a joint buying unit to save costs.

The purchasing departments at Gwent, South Wales and Dyfed-Powys police forces will be merged into one unit to maximise buying power, Police Authorities Wales (PAW) has announced. 

The forces will draw up a joint procurement strategy for the new unit, which will identify potential savings through new contracts.

Procurement is just one of seven new areas of collaboration identified for Wales’ four police forces. The others involve combining scientific support, specialist crime, criminal justice, joint firearms training, aligning ICT systems and standardising operational practices.

The collaboration effort has been driven by Welsh police forces’ need to make savings following major budget cuts announced in the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Unless significant savings can be made by the forces, 1,600 jobs could be lost across Wales’ four forces over the next four years, PAW said.

PAW chair, Delyth Humfryes said: “There is continued commitment to the importance of protecting frontline services, however, it is well documented that it will be increasingly difficult to maintain staffing levels without delivering services more efficiently, particularly though new collaborative partnerships at all levels of policing.

“It has been accepted that Welsh forces cannot operate in isolation, and subsequently, the four police forces and authorities in Wales have sought new ways to work together.”

PAW represents Wales’ four police authorities (Dyfed-Powys, Gwent, North Wales and South Wales).

Each of the seven collaborative projects will involve two, three or all four forces. 

Peter Vaughan, chief constable of South Wales Police and chair of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Wales, said: “The police service is facing significant financial challenges, and if we are to continue to deliver a quality service for the people we serve, we must seek new ways to collaborate in order to drive unnecessary costs and processes from our business.”

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