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Report 6 of the 17 Feb 03 meeting of the Co-ordination and Policing Committee which sets out the recent developments in respect of the negotiations to undertake a merger with the Royal Parks Constabulary.

Warning: This is archived material and may be out of date. The Metropolitan Police Authority has been replaced by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC).

See the MOPC website for further information.

MPS merger with Royal Parks Constabulary

Report: 6
Date: 17 Feb 03
By: Commissioner


This report sets out the recent developments in respect of the negotiations to undertake a merger with the Royal Parks Constabulary. The intention is to reach a formal agreement to merge by 31 March 2003 with the anticipated merger expected in April 2004. The MPS have not made any firm commitments at this stage and continues to explore options, which are briefly outlined below.

A. Recommendation

That members note the progress on the negotiations on the proposed merger and provide comments on the three emerging options.

B. Supporting information

1. The Royal Parks Constabulary (RPC) is part of The Royal Parks and is responsible for the policing of 17 Royal Parks, gardens and open spaces in and around London, which comprise an area in excess of 6,000 acres.

2. In September 2000, the Royal Parks Agency commissioned an Inspection of the Royal Parks Constabulary by Mr Anthony Speed. Three options as to the future of RPC were proposed:

  • Set up an independent Park Ranger Unit
  • Continue with RPC remaining independent
  • MPS to take over responsibility for policing of the Royal Parks.

3. The Inspection concluded that the only viable option was to merge the RPC with the MPS. An executive summary of the report has been made available to Members (further copies are available on request).

4. The Royal Parks Constabulary then engaged in discussion with the MPS. A further report into the implications for the MPS was prepared by Commander Jo Kaye. This identified three potential staffing options ranging from minimum level of cover to one that would provide a broad degree of ‘self sufficiency’ without constant recourse to existing MPS resources.

5. It is this latter option that is broadly equivalent to the general level of service currently provided by RPC. It is important to stress that policing of the Royal Parks will continue to be funded by the DCMS through the RPA.

6. The RPA and the MPS support this option as it maintains the current levels of policing, and, from an MPS view point, will ensure that additional costs, both in funding and opportunity costs, are not borne by the MPS.

7. Any intention to provide significantly reduced levels of policing within the RPC areas will, either: impact negatively on surrounding Borough Operational Command Units, burdening officers from those OCU’s with additional policing requirements; or, impact negatively on the levels of policing services within the RPC area.

8. The ethos of the RPC, supported by the RPA, has always been to police each park by way of its own police unit. This is entirely congruent with the known enablers of public confidence - visibility, accessibility and familiarity. The RPC has very close links with local communities recognising that each of the Royal Parks has its own unique character.

9. The option includes 70 Police and Community Support Officers (PCSO’s).

10. Meetings have taken place and continue to take place with representatives MPS Directors of Finance, Human Resources, Legal Services and the Territorial Policing Command. The discussions have also included the Department of Culture and Home Office.

11. Smaller sub-groups have been formed to look at the various aspects in more detail. The legal issue is central with a need for a change in primary legislation. This is being dealt with by the RPA and the DCMS with advice from MPS Legal Services.

12. All groups are conscious of the objective to conclude all merger details by April 2004.

C. Equality and diversity implications

Human Resource issues are a major factor in this merger as the preferred option would result in a reduction of 28 constables on current RPC strength, and 49 on the actual establishment figure. These are factors discussed at length at both the Project Board level and within the sub-groups. The equality and diversity implications for current RPC staff, both police and essential civilian support, are included and minuted at these meetings.

D. Financial implications

The Royal Parks Constabulary is currently managed by the Royal Parks Agency (RPA), who in turn is funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, (DCMS). A key principle of the merger proposed is that funding will be transferred from DCMS to the Home Office and this in turn will be subject to a specific grant to the MPA. The over-riding objective is to ensure there is no financial detriment to the MPA/MPS of this proposal.

E. Background papers


F. Contact details

Report author: Simon Lewis, MPS.

For more information contact:

MPA general: 020 7202 0202
Media enquiries: 020 7202 0217/18

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