Fears for force’s future set out to Home Secretary

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes with Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.
Chief Constable Neil Rhodes with Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.

Senior figures in Lincolnshire Police have written to the Home Secretary over their fears for the sustainability of the service.

Chief constable Neil Rhodes has told Theresa May he has ‘grave concern’ for the future of policing in the county due to budget pressurest.

In 2016/17, he writes, the force will be ‘on the edge of viability’. The following year, it will be ‘unsustainable’, he adds.

Warning that the constabulary’s ‘principal means of reducing budgets is now almost solely by reducing officer numbers’, he calls for a change in how funding is allocated to forces and the approach to cuts. “Our very future threatened by an anomalous funding formula and the blunt instrument of straight percentage cuts,” he states.

In a separate letter to the Home Secretary, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick echoes these same points, labelling the cuts to date as ‘unsophisticated and blunt’ and the funding formula as ‘not fit for purpose’.

Both stress the force has been praised as ‘outstanding’ by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) for its response to austerity measures and say they are open to talks on how to resolve the challenges facing Lincolnshire Police and other forces.

In response, policing minister Mike Penning said police reforms were ‘working’, saying that crime has fallen by a fifth during this Government, and that there was ‘no question’ about forces having ‘the resources to do their important work’. He added: “The Government is already conducting a fundamental review of the way funding is allocated between force areas.”

Chairman of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel Norman Norris said the panel ‘shares the concerns’ of Mr Rhodes and Mr Hardwick and would too be writing to the Home Secretary to call for a fairer approach to funding.