Hayes ready to act over big police cuts

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SOUTH Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes is calling a meeting of other MPs and police chiefs to talk about savage cuts to the county’s police funding.

If a compelling case is made for more money, Mr Hayes expects he and fellow MPs will take it to the top by meeting Home Secretary Theresa May or one of her ministers.

Lincolnshire has traditionally been one of the worst-funded police forces in the country and the Government’s across-the-board 20 per cent cut to all police forces is expected to hit Lincolnshire for six.

Lincolnshire Police must save £20million from its £120million budget by 2014-15 and 130 police jobs will go from the 1,200-strong force over the next four years.

Last week Lincolnshire Police Federation chairman Stuart Hamilton branded the cutbacks as “criminal” as he unveiled a survey in which bobbies on the beat said crime will rise with officer numbers going down.

In his election leaflet last year, Mr Hayes said: “Violent crime is up under Labour and there are now 10,000 incidents of anti-social behaviour every day!

“We need more police on the beat, tough sentences and courts that stop bleating about the ‘rights’ of criminals and start standing up for the law abiding majority.”

Mr Hayes is a member of the Government that made the latest cuts, but says there was no alternative.

He said: “Every Government department has taken reductions and the reason for that is we inherited a great deficit that would have been borne on the shoulders of our children and our grandchildren had we not dealt with it.”

The MP says there may be an argument for Lincolnshire having a slightly larger share of the cake.

He has argued for many years for the county to get a better deal under the funding formula.

Mr Hayes said his stance hasn’t changed and he will continue to campaign for a strong and effective police force in Lincolnshire.

He hopes to meet fellow MPs and senior figures from the police authority and county police force in June or July. He said: “Let’s get our ducks in a row, make the case and then take it to the top.”

The MP said he would be happy to seek a separate meeting with the Lincolnshire Police Federation to hear the views of front-line officers.