LGiU chief executive Tim Thorogood has called on the Home Office to end speculation over plans for a merger of police forces across England and Wales.
'We need a fundamental rethink of how we restructure policing in this country. The government is right to consider police reform and we recognise that it is vital to have some central control to tackle the challenges of terrorism and organised crime.
However, they are wrong to perceive that the only way is more centralisation. Policing is already too distant from the localities it serves in this country. By merging the existing 43 police forces into fewer 'strategic' entities, it will be even more difficult to tackle grass root issues.
'Elected representatives need much greater say in how policing is conducted in their local area. Yes, initiatives such as community policing have gone someway to addressing this. But in the long run, this sort of policy will only work if you build genuine accountability around the structures you have created. The current mergers policy will not do this.'