September 29, 2006 5:58 PM

Botched government plans to merge Derbyshire Police have cost local people almost £250,000

The Labour government's botched attempt to abolish Derbyshire Police by merging it with other police forces has left Derbyshire Police Authority to foot a bill of almost a ¼ of a million pounds.

Derby Liberal Democrats are demanding the government step in to meet the cost. Derby Liberal Democrat representative on the Police Authority Councillor Fay Winter said "The local Police authority is strapped for cash as it is. People are always telling us they never see a police officer on the beat in their area. Now our local Police Authority is going to be stung for almost £250,000 because the government blundered on police mergers.

"Police mergers were always a daft idea and it is good that the government has put its merger plans on the backburner. However, it is an absolute cheek for the government to expect the local police authority to pay the cost of this government's incompetence.

"I will be asking the Home Office to meet the cost of the police merger fiasco. It is not right that people in Derby and Derbyshire should pay the price for the New Labour government's incompetence."

Derbyshire Police Authority spent £239,972 on "opportunity" costs, mainly staffing, to prepare for the police merger. Additional costs were £58,469. The Home Office has said that it will meet the cost of the additional costs, but is not prepared to refund the near ¼ million spent on "opportunity" costs.