Fears for future of county police

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LINCOLNSHIRE Police may not be able to provide a proper service because of the impact of budget cuts, a watchdog has warned.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary says the county’s force is one of three across the country which “may not be able to provide a sufficiently efficient or effective service” in future because of the Government’s 20 per cent cuts.

Lincolnshire Police is currently the most cost effective force in the country – with just £171 a year spent on policing per head of population.

Despite huge savings it has already made to meet government targets, the report highlights it still needs to earmark a further £3million of savings in the coming years.

The report has been welcomed by Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire Police Authority, but police chiefs have said more careful analysis of its content is needed before they can comment further on the findings.

In a statement issued yesterday, just hours after the HMIC Report on Policing in Austerity was released, a spokesman said: “Lincolnshire Police is a forward looking and progressive organisation.

“It is the most cost-effective in the country, has embraced a modernising agenda and delivers good performance.

“Relentless efficiency drives and partnerships with the private sector has seen the leanest force in the country become even leaner, whilst improving performance.

“However there remains this funding gap and very limited means remaining to close that gap.”

Other issues highlighted an increase in crime last year and the number of officers on frontline duties.

Lincolnshire Police bosses are now hoping to discuss ways of meeting the savings targets with policing minister Nick Herbert when he visits on July 23.