BBC Radio Four's Today programme reported this morning that the 27 police forces which provided the BBC with information spent£6.1m on consultation and drawing up plans for amalgamation with neighbouring forces.
The Home Office may reimburse additional costs. But forces say they also had to divert resources into preparations for merger and they fear they may not get these costs back.
Jan Berry, chair of the Police Federation, told the Today programme: 'People have been deployed from the streets to look at the amalgamations, where the new headquarters are going to be, the infrastructure, policies. All of those had started to be considered.'
She said some of the work will not be wasted if it lays the foundations for closer partnership between neighbouring forces. Even if mergers never go ahead, she said: 'The government will want to see forces work in a more co-operative way.'