County police force facing more funding cuts

THERE are growing fears the county’s police force will not be able to deliver a ‘full service’ in the face of austerity cuts.

In a review from HM’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Lincolnshire Police was one of three forces over which it had ‘multiple concerns’ it would struggle to manage proposed funding reductions.

Lincolnshire Police are facing further funding cuts of more than £3 million, bringing the total to be saved by 2015 to £21 million. This comes after the loss of 84 police officers, reducing the number of officers from 1,208 to 1,114.

A statement jointly submitted by the police and the Lincolnshire Police Authority in response to the report said: “Lincolnshire is served by a police force and a police authority committed to a modernising agenda that will continue to deliver excellent public service and good value for taxpayers’ money.

“Lincolnshire Police has always had a high proportion of its officers on the front line. This report supports that.

“We can tell the public that of the 1,114 officers we currently have only 23, including the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable, who do not have a significant crime fighting component to their work.

“Lincolnshire Police is a forward looking and progressive organisation. It is the most cost-effective in the country, has embraced a modernising agenda and delivers good performance.”

Phil Dilks, Labour candidate to be Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, who served on Lincolnshire Police Authority for eight years, has criticised the cuts.

He said: “It’s deeply shocking that Lincolnshire has been singled out by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary as at risk of failing to provide effective policing due to eye-watering budget cuts.

“HMIC confirms that overall crime across Lincolnshire was up last year, as the first phase of cuts to police numbers began to bite.”

There are fears that further losses to front line police will see an increase in crime.

In figures released on Tuesday (July 3), Lincolnshire Police reported an increase in crime of 2.9 per cent between December 2010 and 2011, which they believe was due to the large spate of metal thefts.

But this year the news is more positive as, thanks to ‘aggressive” policing’, there has been a 14.83 per cent reduction in crime, which amounts to 1,722 fewer victims in the county.

Lincolnshire Police is also the ‘leanest’ in the country, providing policing at £171 per annum per head of population.