Police and Crime Commissioner slams government for forcing Lancashire Police to rely on taxpayers to fund new officers
Again condemning the government for under-investment in Lancashire policing, the county's Police and Crime Commissioner has called on Westminster for more help after approving his 2019/20 budget which includes public funding for 80 new police officers.
Calling on the government to address years of budget cuts since 2010 which have seen 800 police officer posts and 350 support staff lost for the sake of £84m of savings with a further £18m still to find by 2022, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw has criticised the fact that a lack of funding has forced police to appeal to the taxpayers.
Mr Grunshaw's comments follow a public consultation where 63% of over 4,600 respondents supported increasing the council tax precept by 46p per week on a Band D property to fund extra police officers, a measure he said had to be taken as there were "no other options available for investment in the force."
Mr Grunshaw continued: "The government's funding announcement at the end of last year made it clear that the only way to raise funds to put extra officers on our streets was to fully utilise the council tax flexibility given to Police and Crime Commissioners.
"This was the only option provided by Government to protect and bolster policing here in Lancashire and not using it would mean a further cut to the budget and 125 fewer police officers," he added. "Officers and staff work round the clock to keep people safe but are doing more with less."
Pointing to the fact that Lancashire Constabulary receive the highest amount of calls for service for its population outside of London, Mr Grunshaw called the slashing of budgets resulting in police rely on council tax precepts "not sustainable".
He said: "It is unfair to continue passing the burden of years of austerity in policing onto local council tax payers. I strongly believe more funding should come from the government and a long-term plan is needed for police funding which addresses the growing pressures on the service instead of papering over the cracks that years of under-funding have caused.
"For the first time since 2010 investment will be made into policing here in Lancashire with additional officers going into every district across Lancashire, focusing on reducing and preventing crime and dealing with the issues that matter most to people," Mr Grunshaw explained.
"Specialist target teams will also be strengthened to tackle cross border crime and criminality, focusing on burglary and robbery and there will be more detectives following public feedback to prioritise investigations around major crimes, child exploitation and domestic abuse."
The Police and Crime Panel will confirm their decision in writing by 5th February 2019.