A new tactic in the fight to win more cash for Lincolnshire Police is to be used after talks between the Home Office and the man in charge of policing the county.
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick held talks with Home Secretary Theresa May and Policing Minister Damian Green in London last Tuesday where the issue of funding was one of the items up for discussion.
The fact that Lincolnshire is one of the lowest funded police forces in England was a hot topic in last year’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections and Mr Hardwick echoed other candidates in pledging to argue for a better deal for the county.
Mr Hardwick has now invited Mrs May to visit Lincolnshire to meet himself and senior police officers in a bid to show how the county’s £65 million grant from the Government is used to fight urban and rural crime.
“I attended a specially convened ministerial meeting last Tuesday at the Home Office where a huge range of subjects were discussed, including funding,” Mr Hardwick said.
“It wasn’t possible for Police and Crime Commissioners to approach the Home Secretary independently to press their own cases, although she was left in no doubt whatsoever by us that we were all struggling and, quite frankly, that we all could do with a bit more money.
“But we were all left with the impression that we will have to do more with less in the future.”
Mr Hardwick claimed that, as a percentage, Lincolnshire council tax payers contribute more per head towards policing than any other force area in England, despite the fact that Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset all get an even lower Government grant.
He said: “I regard Lincolnshire Police as exemplary because we are, I think, the most cost-effective and efficient police force in the country.
“So I decided that, because we are a success story, the Home Secretary really needs to come to the county to talk to myself and police officers.
“I’ve invited Mrs May to a meeting in Lincolnshire and even though I don’t expect her response to be immediate, I’m encouraged in my ambition to get her to come to the county and talk with us about its challenges.”
Mr Hardwick’s efforts are backed by South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes who said: “I’ve been pressing successive governments to get more funding for Lincolnshire Police for many years and I’ll continue to make the case with this government, based on a better measurement of our needs.
“We’re not asking for more of the Government’s cake but a different slice of the cake.”