Frontline police may be lost in Lincolnshire if the Government continues to punish the force with its stingy funding formula and cutbacks.
That’s the view of Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick, who is inviting Home Secretary Theresa May to visit the Lincolnshire force now independent inspectors have rated it as “outstanding” in delivering affordable policing.
He believes £1billion could be saved from the national bill for policing if other forces followed Lincolnshire’s example.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) found Lincolnshire Police had made substantial savings in “extremely difficult circumstances” and had the “lowest workforce costs in England and Wales”.
But HMIC also noted there was little room for future savings and is concerned about the force’s ability to maintain its current level of service to the communities of Lincolnshire beyond 2016.
Mr Hardwick agrees with the HMIC prediction “if the Government continues to punish Lincolnshire for its efficiency”.
He said: “We continue to be the lowest funded force per head of population and I am in frequent contact with the Home Office to emphasise how the current police funding formula, combined with the continuing cuts related to the comprehensive spending review, may force me into having to reconsider my pledge to maintain 1,100 officers and 149 PCSOs.
“The structure of that formula is an inequity which continues to be a disservice to the people of Lincolnshire and deprives them of the policing they deserve.
“All we are asking for is an equitable funding settlement but repeatedly we are the poor relation when it comes to the annual allocation of police funding.”
He pledged to fight for a fairer deal so residents have the police service they deserve.
HMIC described as “good” both the extent to which the force is efficient and the steps it is taking to secure its financial position for the short and long term.
Mr Hardwick says he and Chief Constable Neil Rhodes have known all along that the force delivers exceptional value for money.
He said: “This HMIC report independently confirms that the Lincolnshire Police model is the way for other forces to go. I have said in the past that if all forces spent the pro rata equivalent of what we spend in Lincolnshire, £1billion could be saved from the national bill for policing.
“I am hoping that following the visit to Lincolnshire by her officials – and now our approach being independently backed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate – the Home Secretary will visit Lincolnshire.
“There is much the rest of the police service can learn from us and I am sure she will also want to discuss with the Chief Constable and I the future funding of the force and the concerns expressed by HMIC that ‘the options to continue to achieve future savings are extremely limited’.”