Join the queue says policing minister

No Caption ABCDE EMN-160512-105222001
No Caption ABCDE EMN-160512-105222001

Lincolnshire Police have been warned they will have to join the queue of forces across the country who are battling to secure additional funding to stave off the threat of cuts to front-line officers.

That was the message from the Government’s Policing Minister Brendon Lewis MP who met leading figures on a visit to the county last Thursday.

Mr Lewis visited as part of an operation he has called ‘Operation Cops’ which involves him visiting forces to meet frontline staff and hear first-hand about the issues affecting them and the work they do in the community.

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Marc Jones have issued dire warnings about the future of policing in the county, without an injection of cash.

Mr Lewis understood the concerns, revealing a comprehensive review of the formula was underway but admitted he could not guarantee there would be any more money.

He said: “We are at the opening stages of that work and I hope to be able to get it done quickly. We are working with the police on what they would like to see included in the criteria and then we can put a formula together.

“Some people will argue density, some people will argue sparsity. Some will argue depravation and some high levels of crime. There’s a whole range of factors and we have got to look at everything.

“I do appreciate the position Lincolnshire is in. The county’s MPs have made a case and made it very clear they think the formula is unfair to Lincolnshire. However, there is not a bottomless pit.”

Mr Lewis denied claims front-line officers might have to be axed and said funding for PCSOss was a matter for the PCC and the County Council.

He vowed the Government would do everything it could to tackle rural crime after hearing from farmers about a wide range of issues including hare coursing, poaching and theft.