Commissioner’s reaction to HMIC report18 July, 2013
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said the Valuing the Police report highlights a “number of issues” facing policing in Lancashire.
Today’s report, published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) assesses how forces country-wide are responding to the spending cuts and praises Lancashire Constabulary for making “good progress”.
But Clive Grunshaw stressed further cuts identified in the latest Comprehensive Spending Review would have an impact on policing in the county.
He said: “While we welcome this report and the positive feedback Lancashire Constabulary has received from HMIC, it clearly highlights a number of issues that will significantly impact on the future delivery of policing services in Lancashire.
“The report rightly recognises Lancashire Constabulary’s savings plan has been driven around ensuring the public continue to receive a quality, visible service, with savings so far designed to afford protection to the front line.
“However, while there is a determination to continue to deliver a high quality professional service that is flexible to the needs of Lancashire communities there is no getting away from the fact that we are facing a £73.5m funding gap.
“The HMIC report has identified there will be a 14 per cent reduction in front-line officers in Lancashire between March 2010 and March 2015 – a figure which it says is greater than for most forces across the country. This reflects the concerns I raised about the impact of further budget cuts in the county to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, when the latest Comprehensive Spending review announcement was made.
“Although we are recognised by HMIC as making good progress in meeting the financial challenges, with crime falling and victim satisfaction rates remaining high, I believe changes will start to show as a result of the further cuts being demanded.
“As Police and Crime Commissioner I’m faced with a dilemma of knowing the public want visible, accessible, policing within their own community, while at the same time having to balance that against a growing demand for police work in areas which the public don’t see, such as counter terrorism, serious and organised crime operations and child protection.
“This comes at a time when we are also trying to balance the funding gap – and the diminishing numbers of officers we have as a result – with a growing call for the police to be the ‘social worker of all ills’. Officers are being diverted to deal with situations that are not police business, such as mental health issues, and are also facing demands for work around early intervention, re-offending, community engagement and work in our schools.
“I remain committed to prioritising the front line but we must be bold and innovative to ensure that policing can still be delivered in a dramatically changed landscape”