Policing levels to be maintained in Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire Police will not be losing any officers on the streets of the county.
Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick today confirmed that his budget for 2016-17 will mean police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) will be maintained at their current levels.
Our communities have always been very clear that they would find reductions in the numbers of police officers and PCSOs unacceptable. So would I.
The commitment forms part of the proposals Mr Hardwick has submitted to the County’s Police and Crime Panel. These include a recommended council tax precept increase of 1.96 per cent.
For the majority of Lincolnshire residents this amounts to no more than seven pence per week.
Mr Hardwick said, “Throughout my time as Police and Crime Commissioner I have made a commitment to listen to the views of the people of Lincolnshire. Our communities have always been very clear that they would find reductions in the numbers of police officers and PCSOs unacceptable. So would I. I will therefore be providing the Chief Constable with a budget that allows him to maintain 1100 police officers and 149 PCSOs.
“This has been a challenging budget to set. Lincolnshire remains one of the lowest cost Forces per head of population in England and Wales, yet we continue to deliver performance that is as good as and, in many cases, better than more well-funded police areas.
“The delay to the Funding Formula review was disappointing. However, both the Chief Constable and I ensured that Ministers recognised Lincolnshire has been treated unfairly in the past. As a result Government’s proposals for the new formula suggested our county would be £8 million per year better off.
“Despite the delay, I know from the meetings I and the Chief Constable have had with the Policing Minister that there is a real commitment to redress the balance from next year. Ministers place their trust in the way we have managed policing in Lincolnshire and I trust that they will be true to their word.
“In the meantime, I have had to face two particular challenges. Since 2010-11 Government grant for policing in Lincolnshire has reduced by 22 per cent, equivalent to some £16 million per year. That includes this year’s reduction of a further £337,000.
“More significantly, the County Council is considering the withdrawal of the funding contribution it previously made to our PCSOs, a loss of £1.2 million.
Having consulted with the public and the Chief Constable I have therefore taken the difficult decision to recommend a precept rise to the Police and Crime Panel.
“I will also, for the first time, be drawing on reserves to balance the budget for 2016-17.
“The Chief Constable assures me these prudent measures will allow him to maintain Lincolnshire Police’s current performance and the safety of our communities. We should all have pride in the officers, staff and volunteers of Lincolnshire Police. Our success depends on their dedication to serving us. With a rebalanced funding formula on the horizon, we can be confident they will be able to continue to reduce crime and be there when people need them.”