Lancs PCC angry and disappointed
No new money was announced for frontline policing with the only reference to the service being a £160m investment to maintain essential specialist counter terrorism provision.
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said:
“Despite repeated claims that austerity is over, I am angry and disappointed that this budget failed to address any of the overwhelming issues facing policing – worst still the whole service was ignored.
“Whilst I welcome investment into mental health, which should relieve some of the pressure on forces like Lancashire being used as the sole emergency service for mental health crisis, the effects of eight years of austerity continue to be felt by every police officer and member of staff across the county who every day are dealing with increasing and complex demand, working around the clock to keep people safe.”
Since 2010 Lancashire has had to make over £84m of savings as a direct result of the government cutting £50m of central funding during the same period, with even more savings required by 2022. In the same period Lancashire has lost 800 police officer posts and 350 support staff meaning there are increasingly fewer places to make savings.
The Budget statement comes just days after the government announcement to increase employer pension contributions for policing which has left forces being asked to urgently find £165m, potentially undermining all previous planning assumptions and resulting in even less officers on the streets of Lancashire.
The real world consequences of dealing with this deficit is forecast to cost Lancashire Constabulary £4m in 2019/20 and over £10m per year from 2020/21 onwards – the equivalent to over 200 police officers notwithstanding any further cuts the Home Office makes to policing.
Clive Grunshaw continued: “This is an impossible amount of money that the government is demanding, on top of the £84m Lancashire Constabulary has already saved and £16m it still has to find for inflation and the unfunded pay award announced earlier this year.
“Furthermore as a result of the decision on Special Grant funding for the 2017/18 financial year, Lancashire Constabulary has also had to find over £5.5m to cover the costs of policing the ongoing fracking protests on Preston New Road.
“I think the government have made a big mistake and I will continue to lobby for fairer funding to ensure police in Lancashire are properly resourced to deliver the service the public of Lancashire deserve.”