EDDISBURY MP Stephen O'Brien has increased the political pressure on new Home Secretary John Reid over a planned merger between the Cheshire and Merseyside police forces.
Mr O'Brien warned that if the Government is to move ahead with plans to abolish Cheshire Police, it must first receive the democratic support of local people by means of a referendum across Eddisbury, Cheshire, the North West and the rest of the country.
His call comes at a time when Dr Reid appears to be slowing down the merger process and seems lukewarm to the concept, compared with predecessor Charles Clarke.
Mr O'Brien said: 'I fear the Government's plans to abolish Cheshire Police could result in cuts to frontline policing in Cheshire and have a knock on effect to response times, the effectiveness of community policing and public confidence, and lead to local people being asked to pay more.
'These cuts are being forced through without the backing of the people of Cheshire - by a Government that has lost the support of the British people. Effective and accountable policing can only be carried out with the full support of the people it is supposed to serve.'
Mr O'Brien says he has objected in the strongest possible terms to the merger proposals from the time that they were announced and has been 'working tirelessly' to try and make the Government see sense.
His spokesman Craig Jackson said: 'Stephen O'Brien's call for a referendum comes as new figures published by the Government reveal the additional costs of the Government's restructuring proposals will lead to residents being forced to pay more. The costs of the new offices, management consultants and IT systems will have to be met from existing Home Office budgets which are being frozen from next year, threatening cuts in police grants.'