Job cuts and bleak future for policing

Lincolnshire Police.
Lincolnshire Police.

West Lindsey’s police chief has warned of “significant” job cuts and a “bleak” outlook for police funding in Lincolnshire.

Gainsborough Inspector Simon Outen was due to speak to district councillors last night, but this week WLDC published his briefing note.

Insp Simon Outen EMN-140324-163410001

Insp Simon Outen EMN-140324-163410001

“Resourcing remains relatively stable across West Lindsey,” said the note, prepared for the Challenge and Improvement Committee.

“However, the picture in the next Comprehensive Spending review is bleak for Lincolnshire, with significant cuts to officer numbers being required to enable Lincolnshire Police to meet its budget forecast,” he said.

“This will be particularly difficult for the force to achieve, given that it is assessed as being the most efficient police force in England and Wales.

“Forceful arguments are being made jointly by the Chief Constable and the Police Crime Commissioner to the Home Office regarding the sustainability of the proposed budgets, especially given the position Lincolnshire has already received with extensive outsourcing,” Inspector Outen said.

No figures were given in the briefing note, but chief constable Neil Rhodes told the media last month that further budget cuts could make the county force “unviable”, forcing a merger with neighbouring authorities.

The force is cutting £19.8m from its budget by 2015 but Mr Rhodes warned if projected finances were correct it would have to slash a further £11m in three years. This could lead to the loss of 236 of his 1,100 officers.

Alan Hardwick, the Police and Crime Commissioner, has made similar bleak forecasts. He has been appealing for suggestions to help him set the budget.

Deadlines for feedback closed last week.

The government funds 55% of Lincolnshire Police and a 4% cutback in the total grant is expected for next year.

However, Inspector Outen’s briefing note also says crime is currently reducing compared to this time last year.

“This remains a positive trend over the past four years, with overall crime reduced significantly in this period. Police continue to take positive action regarding offences, with enforcement remaining the mainstay of action in relation to serious acquisitive crime (which includes burglary offences),” he said.

Lincolnshire Police is also praised by government inspectors for its crime reporting standards and its ethical approach to crime recording practices, Mr Outen also said.