Commissioner calls on Government to address years of budget cuts as Panel backs funding plan22 January, 2019
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has called on the Government to address the long term funding of policing and under investment from Westminster, as the Police and Crime Panel approved his 2019/2020 budget plan for Lancashire Police, which will see investment in more than 80 extra police officers.
This follows 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. The public had their say online, at consultation events across the county and over the phone.
The Commissioner presented his plan to the panel, which is made up of councillors from across Lancashire’s local authorities, where he criticised the Government for forcing the burden of police funding onto council tax payers and leaving no other options available for investment in the force.
Mr Grunshaw highlighted the budget pressures faced by Lancashire Constabulary due to the Government cuts to police funding since 2010, with 800 police officer posts and 350 support staff lost, £84m of savings made and £18m still to find by 2022.
He said: “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, which the people of Lancashire consistently tell me is what they want to see, 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. Officers and staff work round the clock to keep people safe but are doing more with less, with Lancashire Constabulary receiving the highest amount of calls for service for its population outside of London.
“It is not sustainable to rely on the council tax precept and 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 underfunding 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. 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.