A NEW underwater search unit was launched today in a merger between South Yorkshire Police and neighbouring forces.
The new unit, based in Humberside, is made up of one police sergeant and nine police officers who will cover South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Humberside.
It is the latest in a series of amalgamations between the forces in a bid to cut costs.
There is already a regional roads policing unit, and both the dog and mounted sections are also being considered for a possible amalgamation.
The South Yorkshire and Humberside forces also share their human resources and IT departments, and plans are afoot for the forces to join the National Police Air Service, which will see helicopters shared.
Forces are looking at sharing services in a bid to cut costs after the Government slashed budgets.
It is thought the joint underwater search unit will save around £400,000 a year.
South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire Police and Humberside had their own units and together spent over £1 million per year.
A total of 28 officers worked in the units - five on a full-time basis and 23 on-call.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Whyman, Head of Collaboration for Policing Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The new four-force Underwater Search capability is a welcome addition to our portfolio of operational units.
“Not only is it providing all four forces with access to a dedicated full time team, but costs associated with training and equipment have also been optimised so that the same level of specialist search and recovery support delivered prior to today can still be maintained.
“I am confident the public will not see any difference in service levels, and that the £400,000 saved through creating a full time team will go support their local neighbourhood policing and response teams.”