Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner backs council fair funding campaign

Marc Jones - Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
Marc Jones - Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, Marc Jones has backed the Coun Martin HIll, Leader of the County Council in his renewed appeal for fairer funding of the authority.

Coun Hill has spoken out calling on a fairer funding deal for local government in the county compared to that received by councils in London boroughs.

Mr Jones, who previously was a county council executive board member with responsibility for finance, responded via Twitter that he agreed: “County Council underfunded at 1/2 London rate per head. Lincolnshire Police get 1/3 of London rate! Lincs services need funding.”

It was suggested that local MPs needed to fight for better funding.

This echoes comments Mr Jones made last week at a public information evening hosted by Heckington Parish Council where he was a guest speaker.

He said in response to questions: “The funding formula for policing is totally broken and the Government knows that.”

He said even neighbouring Humberside Police received far more per head of population than Lincolnshire, much of it dictated by history, while his officers had to contend with one of the largest road networks.

Mr Jones said: “We are graded ‘good’ and as efficient as we can be but the Audit Commission are worried we will not have enough going forward. In two years time I will have a £6million hole in my funding budget to fill. The challenge we have got at the moment is counter terrorism is a priority for Government and it is totally understandable we should not take money off the big metropolitan areas under these circumstances, but is there enough monoey in the system to give to rural policing? People that carry out bad acts in cities come from other parts of the country as well.”

His aim was to increase local policing but the question would have to be put whether people are prepared to pay more in council tax as the Government current puts a cap on rises. to increase further triggers a referendum.

He is also faced with spreading his budget to address other growing crimes such as those on the internet, child pornography and human trafficking.

There are also plans to increase public sector pay, but Mr Jones warned unless extra funding was forthcoming that could mean less officers employed to pay for it.

Mr Jones revealed the force was currently overhauling its victims services to make sure victims of crimes are fully supported in the community to get back on their feet. That included moving with the times to address issues such as modern slavery where people are preyed upon and held captive in their homes and even forced into selling organs.

He has also been making sure officers have the right kit, numbers and training to tackle issues such as rural crime. He revealed: “Did you know that until 12 months ago Lincolnshire Police didn’t own a pair of wellies despite being in a rural community?”

He invited officers to come up with a strategy and the necessary resourcing has been found. This included training more officers to know the right legislation for dealing with hare coursers and rural criminals, 4x4 vehicles to pursue them across fields, Automatic Nunmber Plate Recognition cameras in cars and night vision goggles to spot church lead thieves. Analysts have been employed to predict patterns of crimes in order to deploy resources more effectively and drones will gather the necessary evidence to deliver more serious sentences as a proper deterrent.