‘We need more money’, says new police chief

Chief Constable Bill Skelly (centre) at Horncastle Police Station
Chief Constable Bill Skelly (centre) at Horncastle Police Station

Lincolnshire’s recently appointed Chief Constable Bill Skelly says he hopes the force will secure a fairer funding deal - ending fears about damaging cuts in officer numbers.

However, Mr Skelly, who took up the high-profile post in February, warned if central Government failed to provide additional money, Lincolnshire would face a ‘hard battle’ maintaining the current level of resources.

Mr Skelly said: “ It’s a testing time. We’ve had a number of years of cuts and that has had an effect on the way we police - and the different and changing demands on officers,

“People are rightly expecting more resources on issues like internet and digital crime - and more on traditional crimes...theft, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse.

“Policing is changing and resources continue to be very difficult.

“I am confident we have a good relationship with the Government and the funding formula that is currently under discussion will be favourable to us.

“Of course, I won’t know that for a few months.

“If it doesn’t go our way, then we will have a hard battle on our hands to get the resources to do the job.”

Mr Skelly was speaking on a visit to Horncastle Police Station last Thursday. He was also scheduled to visit Skegness and Louth.

Mr Skelly explained: “As a relatively new arrival to Lincolnshire, I’m spending the first few weeks trying to get around as many stations as possible .

“I want to visit communities and get an understanding of the of the challenges they face.

“I’ve had a really good welcome. Everyone has been really friendly and warm and I get a really good feel for the area.

“I’m looking forward to meeting more colleagues over the coming weeks.”

Mr Skelly was full of praise for the commitment of staff - from frontline officers to ‘specials’ and PCSOs .

He said police stations in rural areas ‘absolutely had’ a future but stressed that commitment was dependent on funding.

Mr Skelly added: “I am committed to rural policing but some of the work we do will be done differently.

“Some of the challenges mean social media will be a big aspect of what we do.

”It’s not just about having someone walk down a high street in a visible jacket. We will be using social media a lot more in communities.

“Policing such a huge county is a challenge and for someone in my position, it is about being able to balance resources to meeting needs.

“Issues and concerns in, for example, Horncastle are often totally different to issues in perhaps Boston or Lincoln.”