Public assurance from Spalding’s police chief

Insp Paul Timmins
Insp Paul Timmins
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SPALDING’S police inspector says he personally wants to know if changes to the way Lincolnshire Police operates leads to a drop in service levels.

Insp Paul Timmins says the public remain the top priority for officers who are facing “huge changes” to the way they work from next week.

Budget cuts of £19million over the next four years and the loss of 130 jobs have prompted a force restructure.

It will see more police constables working within the neighbourhood policing teams, boundaries removed between three police divisions to allow officers to work closer together, and response officers dealing with incidents needing urgent or priority attendance.

Insp Timmins said: “It won’t make any difference to the public. In terms of the number of officers on the street, they might even see a few more.

“I can guarantee that if someone calls up at 2am or 3am they will get a very quick and professional response.”

In addition to having more officers in Neighbourhood Policing Teams, an appointment system is being introduced for incidents which do not need an immediate response.

Insp Timmins said the change programme had been “well communicated” and everyone was “very aware” of how their jobs were going to change.

He said: “Most officers are quietly confident in the fact that the force is trying to do the right thing and there are contingency plans in place for if we do not get it right the first time.

“Members of the public are the most important thing and if they are not getting a good service then I personally would like to know about it. I can then feed that information back up the chain.

“I think we are all pretty happy going this way.”

Last week, Lincolnshire Police Federation chairman Stuart Hamilton branded government cuts to the force “criminal”.

He called on everyone living in the county to lobby politicians to reverse the cuts.

It was also revealed about 300 of Lincolnshire’s 1,200 police officers took part in a Police Federation survey.

Of those, 88 per cent said the amount of crime would go up because of job losses, while 99 per cent said morale was low because of cuts, job losses and changes to officers’ terms and conditions.

Insp Timmins acknowledged morale was low nationwide.

“Police officers are a unique breed of people,” he said. “They do the job because they have a calling for it and want to serve the public. What they are saying is that there is an awful lot of inefficiencies across the public sector.

“It seems as though officers are being unfairly put upon.”

He said there was a bad feeling nationally that officers were “easy targets” because they cannot take industrial action.