Home secretary Charles Clarke said:
'The majority of these police areas have indicated support for change, and a wish to maintain close dialogue with my department about managing this process in the interests of policing in their areas. I am pleased to be able to announce the results of that joint working today.
'Hampshire, Kent and Thames Valley will continue to stand alone and reconfigure as strategic forces.
'Norfolk Police Authority has volunteered to merge, but in the absence of a similar request to merge from Cambridgeshire and Suffolk Police Authorities this merger is unable to proceed on a voluntary basis.
'North Yorkshire Police Authority has volunteered to merge, but in the absence of a similar request to merge from Humberside, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Police Authorities this merger is unable to proceed on a voluntary basis.
'I am satisfied, on the basis of the protective services assessment undertaken by HMIC and our evaluation of the financial and other aspects of the business cases submitted to us in December, that it would be in the interests of the efficiency or effectiveness of policing for the following forces to merge:
* Humberside, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire
* Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire
* Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk
* Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire
* Surrey and Sussex
'I am accordingly today giving written notice to all the police authorities, local authorities and chief constables in the affected areas of my intention to merge the above police force areas, setting out my reasons for proposing the merger and specifying the general nature of the provisions to be made.
'In accordance with sections 32 and 33 of the Police Act 1996 these police authorities, local authorities and chief constables now have until 11 August 2006 to submit any objections to the proposed mergers. I will carefully consider any objections received. My officials will continue to work closely with these areas and also address implementation issues. Subject to that consideration I would propose to lay the necessary draft orders for approval by both Houses in the Autumn with the new forces coming into being from 1 April 2008.'