West Yorkshire Police chiefs insist the merging of HMET, its crack crimebusting squad, into a bigger crime department will make the force more efficient.
Though bosses admit that resources will be reduced in the new Protective Services Crime Division, they say it will not affect the service to the public.
It is understood that HMET (the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team) is being merged with the Crime Division, which concentrated on major drug smuggling cases, and consultations are taking place about proposals to include the Operations Support Unit, which includes firearms, dogs and horse teams, in the merger.
The proposals are part of the Programme of Change, spearheaded by Chief Constable Mark Gilmore and Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson, aimed at transforming policing and improving performance in West Yorkshire while finding up to £154m in savings by 2017.
Detective Chief Superintendent David Knopwood, head of the Protective Services Crime Department, said yesterday: “The previously named Homicide and Major Enquiry Team now forms part of the larger Protective Services Crime Department.
“This significant change brings together all specialist crime assets to provide greater efficiency and flexibility to respond to crime and to protect our communities.
“The impact of bringing all of the major crime assets together and extending the coverage of the teams will ensure that there is greater coordination across the force to tackle all levels of crime that impacts on communities.”
The proposals were broadly welcomed by West Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers.
Chairman Nick Smart said: “The deadline for the bigger changes is April. Nothing has been determined yet and the proposals change fairly frequently. But any proposals that go ahead, if they do not hit the frontline, we would broadly support.”
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “The benefit of bringing all of the major crime assets together and extending the coverage of the teams will ensure that there is greater co-ordination across the force to tackle all levels of crime that impacts on communities, ensuring that our communities are safer and feel safer.”