LANCASHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner is demanding the Government give back to Lancashire the 750 police officers lost since 2010.
Clive Grunshaw was speaking after the Home Office announced that they have a target to recruit 153 officers in Lancashire in the first year of their drive to increase the police’s ranks in England and Wales by 20,000 over the next three years.
He goes on to add that the figures released by the Home Office indicate Lancashire Constabulary will still have almost 250 fewer officers than in 2010 – despite the 20,000 'boost'.
With the breakdown of funding still not announced, the first 6,000 new officers will see a maximum of 153 additional officers in Lancashire. Mr Grunshaw comments that if the same allocation approach is made in the next two years, this would mean the county would get back hundreds of officers - less than the 754 that have been lost.
He highlights the “unfairness of this way of investing into policing” is highlighted by the fact that Surrey, who have only lost eight officers since 2010, will be 70 officers better off by 2021 than a decade ago after this first announcement and stand to gain 250 police officers by 2023 if calculations remain based on core grant allocation.
Mr Grunshaw points out that the Government has indicated that associated costs, such as training and equipment, will be covered, but said no clarity has been given on additional costs around estate, HR, vetting and other factors.
He goes on to say that the Constabulary will still have to meet the added cost pressures from the fully deserved, yet unfunded pay award for the existing workforce at a cost of more than £6m.
Mr Grunshaw commented: “This is alongside inflation and the government changes to police pensions which is also leaving the force out of pocket and without proper funding, there remains a big gap in the budget – leading to concerns that cost pressures could be passed onto Council Tax payers which the Commissioner has repeatedly highlighted as grossly unfair.”
Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw said: "I had asked the Home Office to match our ambition in Lancashire and to replace the 750 officers lost since 2010 and I'm disappointed with today's announcement which falls well short of this ambition and fails to recognise the reason that additional officers are needed – the years of funding reductions from Westminster which have impacted Lancashire more than most.
"We requested 340 officers in this allocation to allow us to properly invest back into the policing in Lancashire, making a strong case around the fairest way to allocate funding by putting officers back where they have been lost and are needed most.
"However forces like Lancashire have been snubbed by the Government whilst more affluent areas such as Surrey, who have lost only eight officers since 2010 due to their ability to raise almost double what we have through the council tax precept, have been gifted 70 officers in this first allocation - more than when austerity in policing began.
"Whilst I welcome the ability to put much needed additional officers back onto our streets, after almost a decade of cuts which meant we have needed to save over £84m, and the impact this had on the service that we can deliver, this announcement does not go far enough to repair the damage that has been done to our policing service. There are also suggestions that the remaining share of the 20,000 police officers beyond March 2021 could be shared between Counter Terrorism and Serious and Organised crime meaning even less for Lancashire.
"Together with MPs, I will continue standing up for Lancashire and demand that the government give us our Bobbies back. I'm also calling for a fair and sustainable funding settlement from central government that takes into account the unique circumstances faced by policing here in Lancashire."
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