A spokesman said:
'It is now generally accepted that mergers will bring with them significant start-up costs, therefore we welcome the Home Office's recent commitment to meet the net set-up costs of police restructuring for all police authority mergers, not just voluntary ones, as a step in the right direction.
'We are also pleased to see that the Home Office recognises that council tax should not increase as a result of restructuring. However, some council tax payers could still face substantial increases whilst others see reductions.
'Police authorities also want to be satisfied that local people will still have a real voice in the big decisions about policing in their area.'
* The home secretary's statement
LOCAL LEADERS WARN OF REPERCUSSIONS OF POLICE MERGERS
In a letter today to 'The Times' a cross-party coalition of local leaders from across England and Wales have warned of the repercussions at the local level of the Home Secretary's plans for police reform and have asked him to rethink his proposals.
The signatories, from across the political spectrum, have warned that if the Home Secretary presses ahead communities will feel even more alienated from the police service with serious repercussions for future policing and law enforcement.
They additionally warn that the reforms can only be met by the local taxpayer through increased council tax and will result in serious consequences for other services provided by local authorities.
Lord Hanningfield, leader of Essex CC who coordinated the response commented:
'The opposition to the Home Secretary's police reforms at the local level is now clear. We have leaders opposing his proposals from every political party and every geographical area throughout England and Wales.
Every leader who has added his or her name to this letter has done so because they have serious reservations of how these proposals will impact on their local communities.
Many people will feel further alienated from their local neighbourhood police if such units were to be subsumed into a much larger, more distant force.
As policing is by consent it is crucial that the wishes of the people and their local representatives are heard and respected. I can only hope that the Home Secretary heads their warnings and allows us the opportunity to have a calm and rational debate on the future of policing in this country.'
The text of the letter and accompanying signatories is as below.
We are just a few of the locally elected representatives of those communities and individuals that will be affected by the Home Secretary's plans for police reorganisation. We feel, therefore, that we have a duty to stand up and represent their views. They, like us, are opposed to the plans for police mergers across much of England and Wales.
As policing is by consent it is crucial that the wishes of the people are heard and respected. Yet the Home Secretary is not listening. He continues to press ahead with his ill thought out and ill-judged plans, riding rough shod over the vast majority of the people and their elected representatives. This is a dangerous step to take.
We are also uniquely placed to assess the impact that these proposals will have at the local level.
They will remove further the notion of local policing, in turn reducing people's trust and cooperation in the police and increasing their sense of alienation.
We also believe that the costs of the Home Secretary's plans will fall squarely upon the local taxpayer. With budgets in local government already at breaking point this will mean nothing more than a sharp rise in Council Tax.
Therefore, we are calling today for the Home Secretary to again rethink his proposals and allow us the opportunity to have a rational and sensible debate on the future of policing in this country.
Lord Hanningfield, Leader, Essex County Council
Madeline Russell, Leader, Bedfordshire County Council
Margaret Eaton, Leader, Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council
Keith Walters, Leader, Cambridgeshire County Council
Paul Findlow, Leader, Cheshire County Council
Goronwy Edwards, Leader, Conwy County Borough Council
Richard Parry Hughes, Leader, Cyngor Gwynedd Council
David Caunt, Leader, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
Peter Jones, Leader, East Sussex County Council
Stuart Drummond, Mayor, Hartlepool
Roger Phillips, Leader, Herefordshire Council
David Beatty, Leader, Hertfordshire County Council
Ken Branson, Leader, Hull City Council
Kath Pinnock, Leader, Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council
Andrew Carter, Leader, Leeds City Council
Roger Blackmore, Leader, Leicester City Council
Martin Hill, Leader, Lincolnshire County Council
Andrew Crump, Leader, Monmouthshire County Council
Peter Arnold, Leader, Newcastle City Council
Jim Harker, Leader, Northamptonshire Council Council
Alan Holgate, Leader, North Lincolnshire Council
Keith Brookes, Leader, North East Lincolnshire Unitary Authority
David Franks, Leader, Luton Unitary Council
John Davies, Leader, Pembrokeshire County Council
Eric Empson, Leader, Redcar and Cleveland Council
Roger Begy, Leader, Rutland Council
Anna Waite, Leader, Southend-on-Sea Council
Jeremy Pembroke, Leader, Suffolk County Council
Nick Skellet, Leader, Surrey County Council
Anne Cheale, Leader, Thurrock Unitary Council
Jeffrey James, Leader, Vale of Glamorgan County Council
Tom Ansell, Leader, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council
Henry Smith, Leader, West Sussex County Council
George Lord, Leader, Worcestershire County Council
Aled Roberts, Leader, Wrexham Borough Council