Deepings councillor demands extra police funding, saying crimes of sex and violence are up 69 per cent
A Deepings councillor says violent and sexual offences have risen 69 per cent in the Deepings.
Now, Phil Dilks is demanding extra police funding to address the issue.
He has submitted a motion to next Thursday's meeting of South Kesteven District Council, instructing its chief executive to write to our MPs to express council concerns and tell the MPs to lobby for extra funding.
Coun Dilks said: "This motion addresses serious concerns about rising crime in my ward and across South Kesteven at the same time as police officer and PCSO numbers are in the process of being cut throughout Lincolnshire in the face of a severe funding gap identified by the Chief Constable of £3.2 million this year.
"For example, in the Market Deeping and Uffington police area which covers the ward I represent, last year (2018) there were 229 reports of violent and sexual offences – up from 135 the previous year – a worrying rise of 69%.
"The increase became even more worrying in January this year which saw another big rise, followed by an even bigger rise in February (the most recent figures available).
"In my ward of Deeping St James and my neighbouring ward of Market and West Deeping, the official police figures show there were three violent and sexual offences reported in February last year – less than one a week.
Coun Dilks, who previously led SKDC's Labour group until becoming an Independent just prior to this month's local council elections, said in February this year, the same relatively small area saw one violent and sexual offence reported for every day of the month - up from less than one a week.
He continued: "Our police service has been cut to the bone nationally over recent years. Lincolnshire has suffered from a historically low and unfair Government funding formula, but has still seen the number of police officers reduced by almost 150 since 2010 (down from 1,245 to 1,060) as part of cutting 21,000 police officers across the country.
"Last September our Chief Constable Bill Skelly revealed that his force is already stretched to breaking point and facing a massive funding gap in what he needs to effectively police Lincolnshire and fight rising crime. He warned that without additional resources, there would have to be even less policing in Lincolnshire – and even fewer police officers protecting us all.
"In February this year, as the Government funding and Budget for Lincolnshire Police was finalised for the current year, the Chief Constable revealed that he would have to make savings of £3.2 million – and even more next year.
"So right now he is in the process of cutting another 40 police officers and 33 PCSOs. We are also seeing up to 30 police support staff cut."
"In light of this worrying position of further police cuts at the same time as crime is rising in our county, this Council resolves to:
1. Instruct the Chief Executive to write to our local MPs outlining our concerns and lobbying for their urgent intervention with a view to increasing funding to Lincolnshire Police so that the current further reductions in numbers of police officers and PCSO can be halted.
2. Invite the Chairman of the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to agenda ‘Local Crime Statistics and Police Funding’ as an item to be urgently scrutinised with evidence and ‘witnesses’ to be engaged as appropriate.
Coun Ray Wootten is both a sitting district and Lincolnshire County Councillor, as well as a former policeman who served 22.5 years in Bedfordshire until retiring due to injury.
The Grantham Conservative is also vice-chair of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel, which scrutinises the work of Marc Jones, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire.
Coun Wootten said: "In my personal opinion, as a retired police officer, we need more officers on patrol to combat the increasing crime. However, Lincolnshire remains one of the safest places in the country to live.
"I would support the call from commissioner Marc Jones for extra funding. He has applied to the government for a special grant application. Lincolnshire Police is the third lowest funding in the country per head of population."
Coun Wootten says he plans to speak on the motion when it is debated at the Thursday council meeting.
He added: "In March 2019 in Market Deeping, 83 crimes were reported. In Luton alone, there were 78 crimes in one street."