Potential consequences for public safety and criminal justice
The report comes just weeks after a National Audit Office report criticised Ministers for not understanding the impact that funding cuts have had on police forces and days after potentially crippling police pension contribution changes were announced.
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 an additional £18m of 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.
In a wide-ranging “Policing for the Future” report looking at the changing demands on policing, the Home Affairs Committee finds that forces are struggling to cope in the face of changing and rising crimes and warns that the Home Office cannot continue to stand back while police forces struggle.
The report also finds that in many areas, the police force is being used as the sole emergency service for mental health crisis.
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “I believe the total level of funding provided to policing by government is the most significant issue facing the service. Police officers in Lancashire are working around the clock to keep people safe but they are over stretched.
“This report reaffirms what I have been saying for some time – policing urgently needs more money. The current funding for policing isn’t sufficient to deal with growing demand and the current funding arrangements, which places the burden of police funding into council tax payers, isn’t sustainable.
“The Constabulary is managing not just an increase in crime, with the emergency 999 and 101 service receiving thousands more calls than they did in previous years, but also non-crime demand including mental health and social care as a consequence of cut backs affecting other services and partners.
“Changing and increasing demand means officers are needed to do different roles so they can be there when the public really need them, dealing with increasingly complex issues such as cybercrime, child and adult exploitation and online abuse. “