Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has thanked the public for joining his campaign to “cut the cuts” and said they are big part of the reason the Government has done an about turn on plans to slash police funding this year.
Clive Grunshaw said Lancashire residents who supported his ‘cut the cuts’ campaign by writing to MPs and signing petitions against funding reviews, have been instrumental in the Government’s change of heart.
He said: “A few months ago we were facing the absolute decimation of our force here in Lancashire with changes to the way funding was awarded and the threat of cuts to the overall policing budget.
“But now it looks as if we have a reprieve and the cuts we are facing have been significantly reduced. We are still facing a reduction in our funding of just less than £1m this year, but this is a much less than we were expecting a few months ago.”
Lancashire Constabulary has already seen its budget reduce by £63m since 2010 and 1200 jobs have been lost as a direct result. But the latest settlement from Government is just under £1m less than last year at £192m.
Most of the savings delivered so far have seen frontline policing maintained, but new ways of working, reduction in management, back office and estates costs have all helped to deliver the savings.
Mr Grunshaw said: “While we know austerity isn’t over yet, it is a welcome reprieve and will allow us time to focus on local police and crime priorities instead of where we need to cut.
“The terrorist attacks in France, the recent floods in Lancaster and St Michael’s , the growing pressures of cybercrime and the increasing number of vulnerable people in our community are all reasons we should be looking to strengthen our resilience, not cut policing to the core.”
Lancashire Constabulary was recently named outstanding for the way it has managed the financial challenges imposed as part of the Government’s austerity plan. Inspectors from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary said Lancashire was well placed to deliver further savings and had managed change well.
The Commissioner added: “What is also clear is that if we want to have the same spending power we will need to increase the council tax precept by 2%. The Chancellor made that clear in the comprehensive spending review last month and I have been consulting the public on this for several weeks.
“I will consider the outcome of the consultation before deciding whether to implement the 2% increase that Government say we need to be able to preserve our budget.”