Policing minister agrees to visit county

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The Government minister in charge of policing has agreed to visit Lincolnshire after a crisis meeting with MPs and police chiefs.

Deepings MP John Hayes called the meeting with policing minister Mike Penning (Con) on Tuesday to discuss police funding in Lincolnshire.

Mr Hayes and fellow Conservative county MPs Edward Leigh, Stephen Phillips, Mark Simmonds and Karl McCartney were joined by Lincolnshire Police chief constable Neil Rhodes and Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick.

Mr Rhodes and Mr Hardwick wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May in December to say the county force would be “unsustainable” in three years should funding continue to be cut. They called for the police funding formula to be reviewed.

Following Tuesday’s meeting Mr Penning agreed to visit Lincolnshire to see the situation first hand.

He also agreed to send senior officials to work with Lincolnshire Police to explore the facts around their funding and see what can be done; to look at every avenue, notwithstanding the challenge of saving Government money to cut the deficit, for a possible solution; to consider a bid from Mr Hardwick for interim financial support from the Special Grant fund; and to ask Mr Rhodes to contribute to the advisory group looking at general police funding.

Mr Hayes was delighted with the outcome of the meeting.

He said: “We have made real progress on securing a fresh commitment to new thinking about funding Lincolnshire police.

“This is really positive news. As a result of the meeting we have secured fresh thinking about the Lincolnshire Police 
budget.

“I’ve always fought for a fair deal for Lincolnshire because I want policing which guarantees the safety and security of the people I serve; support for our excellent police officers here in South Holland and the Deepings, and a long term funding solution for Lincolnshire Police which protects us into the 
future.”