'Cumbria is one of the smallest forces in the country. It is too small to cope with this type of incident'
Point one; could Kent or Essex or Thames Valley have done any better? Could any largely rural force? In fact, it now seems armed officers from Cumbria were as close as 30 seconds behind him, but he was a cab driver, on his own turf. The only point that seems to be at question is whether there was a helicopter available, and access to a (shared) helo is a very weak argument to merge forces.
'In the last 12 months, Cumbria police have faced the Cockermouth floods, a coach crash in which two people were killed and now Bird. They're too small to cope with these major incidents'
Um, this would make more sense if all three major incidents occurred at the same time. They didn't. And Cumbria police coped well with all three. Look, when we build a street of houses, we connect the whole lot up to a nine inch sewer. If they all flushed the toilet at once, this would be grossly inadequate; we'd need a three foot diameter pipe. But we don't. You see, one uses probability theory to size things, including police forces.
'When a major incident occurs, forces may need 'mutual assistance' from neighbouring forces. This is an expensive solution at a time the government is cutting budgets'
No it's not. It's a damn sight cheaper than paying for a surplus of resources sitting idle most of the time. Neither is it an argument for merged forces; a Chief Constable is probably keener to contribute resources he can charge his neighbour for than a divisional commander would be to deplete his own resources. The overall cost to the economy is exactly the same.
'The most important factor in responding to a fast-moving incident is clarity'
And Hayman's own force, the Met, has demonstrated on several occasions the utter failure of clarity amongst commanders in Britain's largest, best equipped and most heavily resourced police force. Ask how much clarity came from Cressida Dicks last time she commanded a major incident.
While there is sound common sense in forces sharing helicopters, forensics and SOC investigators, even rubber rafts and specialist plant, this is not a valid argument for either merging forces or creating a national force. Major incidents form less than 1% of all police activity; we need forces designed to provide the 99%.