HOME AFFAIRS – POLICE RESTRUCTURING – 19 December 2005

Dr Julian Lewis: In supporting what my Right Hon. Friend [David Davis] said earlier, may I point out that it has been reported today that the chairman of the Hampshire Police Authority – I apologise in advance for using these words again, Madam Deputy Speaker – has stated:

"I am absolutely disgusted with the Home Secretary for his blatant attempt to bribe police authorities into accepting voluntary mergers ... This surely illustrates how police authorities across the country have got him running scared by standing together in protest against reforming the structure of policing in England and Wales"?

Will my Right Hon. Friend take this opportunity to encourage police forces throughout the country not to be divided one against the other due to the offer of money if they agree to something with which they disagree in an impossibly short time scale?