The proposed merger of Dorset Police with its neighbouring force of Devon and Cornwall appears to have been cancelled.
In a meeting this afternoon the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel voted to back the decision of their Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, to reject the merger plans.
Before the meeting Alison Hernandez had said that she did not support the plan and her view was not to submit the business case for the merger to the Home Office.
The alliance had hoped a merger would enable them to share resources and cut down on costs. The joint police force would have become the largest rural police force in the country.
The decision comes the day after a statement from the Police & Crime Commissioner for Dorset, Martyn Underhill, stating his reasons for wanting the unification to take place. He said that he had the cooperation of both the Chief Constable for his own county and the Chief Constable for Devon & Cornwall.
The two PCCs, Chief Constable James Vaughan of Dorset Police and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton for Devon & Cornwall Police had originally agreed to the business case at a meeting on Tuesday 25th September, however they did not reach a unanimous decision on whether to go forward with formally submitting the plan to the Home Office.
According to a statement a final decision was due to be made on Monday 8th October, following consideration of public consultation and feedback in both areas. However today's news effectively stops the plan altogether.
Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill has responded to the rejection of the merger proposal by his Devon and Cornwall counterpart by saying that his view for the merger to go ahead was already on record - and that Alison Hernandez was the only one to reject the plan among the four major decision-makers.