COMBINING some functions with neighbouring police services could save Cambridgeshire Constabulary a share of £3million a year, the police authority says.

It has agreed to share firearms, major crime, professional standards and scientific services units with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire from early next year.

The ‘Strategic Alliance’ between the three forces is aimed at helping them reduce the impact of budget cuts on frontline policing.

The plan is that, by 2015, a wide range of joint operational functions and support services, making up more than half of policing business, will be saving around £20m per year through economies of scale and increased resilience.

“The only areas of policing that will not be considered for joint working are local policing, particularly incident response, neighbourhood policing and volume crime investigation, as these need to be tailored to local priorities of the communities we serve and styles of delivery, and ‘Protecting Vulnerable People’ functions which are best delivered in partnership with locally based agencies,” a spokesman for the Cambridgeshire authority said.

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire have already worked with Cambridgeshire Constabulary to develop a procurement function to serve the three organisations.

Chairman of Cambridgeshire Police Authority Ruth Rogers said: ““These complex business cases are the result of a great deal of work by the constabularies and scrutiny by the authorities. We look forward to them helping to ensure effective policing while making the best use of resources for the three areas.”

Chief Constable Simon Parr added: “We will be monitoring the implementation very closely to ensure we deliver a high quality service to the public as well as making the financial savings.”

The firearms unit will save about £542,000 a year across the three forces, the major crime unit £700,000, the professional standards department £637,000 and the scientific services unit £670,000. Further savings of £500,000 will be delivered over the following two years, the authorities believe.