`Buying in' more police backed

Chief police officers have paved the way for local authorities to buy extra police to patrol trouble spots, writes Heather Mills.

The ability of richer councils to purchase a higher level of policing than in poorer areas has already prompted concern over "two-tier policing".

Yesterday Keith Povey, Leicestershire's Chief Constable, who headed the working party recommending the move, admitted that the scheme may not have the support of all 43 chief constables in England and Wales.

"It is a big step for chief constables because they are sacrificing some operational control to local authorities," he said.

However, short of extra government funding, he believed it may provide the only way of satisfying public demand for more visible policing.

Speaking at the Association of Chief Police Officers' summer conference in Winchester, he said ACPO's working partywould ensure the policing was extra to basic cover and that no other areas suffered as a result.

Councils including Bradford in West Yorkshire and Corby in Northamptonshire made extra policing deals after the new Police and Magistrates Court Act gave them the right last April.