130 officers are already facing the axe. Now county councillor says another 100 posts could be lost

Cutts Close, Oakham.'Beat Bobbies.''pw
Cutts Close, Oakham.'Beat Bobbies.''pw

A COUNTY councillor has warned 100 more police officers could be axed over the next four years on top of 130 posts already approved to be cut.

Lincolnshire Police has already decided to cut 70 police officer and 90 civilian roles in the next financial year, bringing the number of officers to 1,130. It is also planing to axe another 20 a year for the next three years.

But at a meeting on Tuesday, Chris Underwood-Frost, who sits on Lincolnshire Police Authority and is a county councillor, warned that 100 more jobs could also go.

His warning came after the police authority approved freezing its share of the council tax. In return, the Government says it will give the authority £1m every year for four years.

Coun Underwood-Frost said: “The worry is that, while we’ve agreed not to raise the council tax, the money we have been promised might not be there and if it isn’t, there is a potential for 100 more officers to go.

“We haven’t got that confidence that the money will definitely be in place.

“Seeing a police officer on the street is as rare as seeing a one-legged eagle and people don’t want to see fewer police officers, they want to see more. I am just voicing the concerns and the frustration of the people I represent in Lincolnshire.”

The force is having to make savings of £6.7m in 2011/12 from its £119.5m budget.

Police authority chairman Barry Young, who is also a county councillor, said: “We assume that the £1m a year will continue for the next four years. If that does not happen we will have to find more ways of working efficiently.

“It would be more reassuring if we were able to take a longer-term view of the financial situation but there are many unknowns, not least with regard to Government funding.

“The authority and the chief constable have stressed, and continue to stress, that losing officers is very much a last resort.”

At the meeting, Chief Constable Richard Crompton called for the authority to ask for a council tax rise. He said: “A 3.5 per cent

increase in council tax would mean a loss of that £4m over the next four years but even under these circumstances it would mean we lost 10 fewer police officers than we otherwise would and by year five it would mean we lost 30 fewer police officers.

“I do recognise the extraordinary circumstances we are in but I would not be doing my job if I did not point out that difference.”

Lincolnshire County Council has approved giving the authority, which makes sure the police are providing an effective and efficient service, £1.5m for 150 police community support officers.

A police authority spokesman said these extra community officers along with additional special constables would strengthen neighbourhood police teams.

The force is also planning to share resources with police in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire in a bid to save cash.