Crime figures rise as services are cut

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Crime has risen in Morecambe for the first time in eight years, police say.

Morecambe Town Council heard that there was an 11.8 per cent increase in crime on last year’s figure with shoplifting and burglary remaining a big problem.

However, anti-social behaviour is 2.5 per cent down on last year and police continue to fight the drugs issue.

Sgt Lindsay Brown of Morecambe Police said: “We have managed to close that gap to a 9.4 per cent increase by using the PCSOs in a much more direct offender based targeting. Despite reductions in staff by April 2014, neighbourhood policing, along with PCSOs and community beat managers, will stay.

“Response policing is under review and Northern Division, which includes Morecambe and Lancaster, will now be joining Blackpool.

“Although some police houses and stations have been sold off, Morecambe has retained its front desk.

“Neighbourhood policing will not leave Morecambe, we are not abandoning the town.

“Keeping the people of Morecambe safe remains our utmost priority.”

Lancashire Police has to cut 165 police officers and 275 support staff in an attempt to save £73M, despite already axing around 500 officers, which resulted in savings of £60M.

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said: “To find this money we have had to take very difficult decisions.

“We are facing our greatest challenge and most radical changes in over 30 years.”

Mr Finnigan’s scheme to restructure the force is planned to be implemented by April next year and includes losing senior staff members and reducing the number of regional divisions from six to three.

Lancashire Police Federationchairman Rachel Baines said: “Officers’ main concern is public safety.

“The pressures on the front line are already immense.