Lancashire police fear cuts will put public at risk

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Lancashire Police Federation say they fear for the safety of the public if Lancashire Constabulary is forced to make further cuts.

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw has written to Home Secretary Teresa May urging a rethink over police funding.

In the letter Mr Grunshaw argues that police budgets are bearing an unfair level of cuts due to the fact that other public budgets are protected.

He also states that the £4.2m proposed to be top-sliced from the Lancashire budget to fund national bodies, such as the HMIC and IPCC, is adding to the burden and will impact on the force.

The commissioner is currently consulting residents on the police precept – the part of the council tax that goes towards funding the police – with early indications that residents are keen to see it increased by up to 15p per week to help protect police roles.

However, the government will not allow the commissioner to raise council tax above two per cent without staging a referendum, at a cost of £1.5m.

In 2009 Lancashire had 3650 police officers, this figure is predicted to fall to 2400 by 2021, which will mean a loss of 1250 officers.

Rachel Baines, Chairman of Lancashire Police Federation, said “These cuts are ludicrous; this will not only mean the end of the police service as we know it, but could have devastating consequences for the public.”

Federation chiefs have launched a countrywide campaign to oppose the level of the coalition cuts insisting they are too deep and are bound to put the public at risk. A reduction in frontline police officers will make it more difficult to respond to incidents.

Rachel said: “We know that the economic situation is tough and we accept everyone has to share in the cutbacks. But to slash the police service in Lancashire by so much, is too much.”