Police in Lancashire will not become part of a combined force with other authorities, the Home Secretary has assured.
Theresa May visited the Lancashire Evening Post’s offices yesterday evening with Andrew Pratt, the Conservative candidate for the county’s police and crime commissioner (PCC).
She said the force may share some services with other areas to become more efficient, but vowed it would not lose its identity.
The Home Secretary said: “I think in most cases we can get the benefits of the economics of scale by collaboration, and we don’t need to lose our force identity.”
She said other forces across the country were already working on collaborations, and said: “My own local force, Thames Valley, has had IT collaboration.
“There’s a lot of work being done around how we can provide the best forces most efficiently and effectively, while still maintaining an individual force identity.
“I think we can retain that identity that people feel it is their force, but, in a number of areas, cooperation and collaboration can take place.”
Mrs May said the Home Office now had responsibility for fire and rescue, and said: “In the policing and crime bill, we are putting in some enabling powers for collaboration between PCCs and the fire service.”
Mrs May visited Lancashire where she met Mr Pratt, who is standing in the forthcoming police and crime commissioner elections for Lancashire.
Mr Pratt said: “I would like to see a lot more of us collaborating with the fire service.
“For instance, in Preston, the retained fire stations have an ability to house police officers and we need to get into a discussion about that, rather than taking them out of the community.”
Mrs May spent time visiting the county yesterday and said: “I’ve been talking a little bit about the collaboration, and about bringing policing together with other agencies more generally.
“I’ve talked a little bit about child sexual exploitation and how it is important that people feel comfortable and confident enough to be able to report it, and that they feel there are people they can go to who will listen to what they are saying.
“In Cumbria I was looking at how police there are using body cameras and the technology they are using now to make it a simpler process through the justice system.”