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Chief constable's farewell interview

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:10 02 July 2010

Norfolk's outgoing chief constable Ian McPherspon.

Norfolk's outgoing chief constable Ian McPherspon.

Norfolk police's departing top officer Ian McPherson has predicted his successor could be the county's last ever chief constable as bosses continue to push for a merger with neighbouring forces.

Norfolk police's departing top officer Ian McPherson has predicted his successor could be the county's last ever chief constable as bosses continue to push for a merger with neighbouring forces.

Mr McPherson will begin his new job as assistant commissioner for territorial policing with the Metropolitan police today. Norfolk Police Authority is in the process of recruiting his replacement having drawn up a shortlist of four candidates and will announce its decision later this month.

Both authority chairman Stephen Bett and Mr McPherson have been strong advocates of a merger with Suffolk police, and possibly Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.

In his farewell statement, Mr McPherson questioned the need for police forces dictated by county boundaries and said tough financial times will lead to more considering mergers in order to cut bureaucracy.

He said: “I think people get hung up about structures and sometimes the police service gets a bit selfish about it, that's my personal perspective. There remains a lot of duplication - 43 separate police headquarters costs a lot of money.

“It's not about chief constables, it's about having to have a hierarchy and whether it is at the optimum level. Why do we have in East Anglia, six training schools, five or six motor vehicle pools, different uniforms, big headquarters - that's perhaps not the best way of spending public money.”

He described the financial challenges as “enormous” adding that Norfolk had managed to make savings by cutting the duplication of backroom functions, a move which has seen staff numbers cut.

Asked whether the next Norfolk chief constable will be the last, Mr McPherson said: “Yes, possibly. But the Government doesn't seem to have the appetite for mergers - it talks of voluntary mergers.”

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