‘Police funding discriminates against county’

Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick.
Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick.

New figures show Lincolnshire Police are continuing to bring crime down in the county, but remain well underfunded by central government.

Quarterly data released by Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick and Chief Constable Neil Rhodes, which include a drop in burglary of nearly a quarter, have been welcomed as ‘positive’.

Despite a two per cent overall drop in crime, data also released today by the force shows spending on policing per head of population in Lincolnshire is the lowest in England at just £154 per head.

Mr Hardwick said: “This report underlines once again that the Government’s funding formula for policing is not equitable.

“It positively discriminates against Lincolnshire.”

“Yet again, I want to pay tribute to the Chief Constable, his officers and staff on their hard work.

“In Lincolnshire, we police with pride and it’s that pride in public service that delivers these positive results.”

Figures for the period of April to June 2013 showed anti-social behaviour incidents in Lincolnshire dropped by 22 per cent compared to the same period in 2012, while violence against the person fell 20.6 per cent.

Robbery and vehicle crime are also both down while the first quarter of the year also saw a fall of 18 per cent in the number of people killed and seriously injured on the county’s roads.

But these impressive statistics came in the face of low funding.

According to the crime commissioner’s office, if Lincolnshire’s funding per head of population was commensurate with the contribution made by local people, i.e. top quartile, a further £27 million would be available for policing in Lincolnshire.

And if Lincolnshire’s spend per head of population were only at the average for English forces this would imply an additional £17.5million.

The commissioner said: ”It cannot be right that not only does spending on policing vary so widely across the country, but also that in some areas such as Lincolnshire, local taxpayers shoulder a much greater burden through the council tax for the cost of policing.

“If everyone spent the same as we do in Lincolnshire, the police service in England would cost around £1 billion less.”

The commissioner praised the force’s use of private involvement which includes security firm G4S running many “back office services” in order to make savings.

“The service needs to deliver the right services, efficiently and effectively and taxpayers need to feel they are getting a fair deal,” said Mr Hardwick.

“Many of HMIC’s conclusions about the work we have been doing in Lincolnshire are superficial and in some cases inaccurate.

“They fail to see that our strategic partnership with the private sector provides us not only with greater flexibility than we would have without it, but also greater capacity to transform how we do business to the benefit of our community.

“It also concerns me that there is an incessant focus on cuts and doom-mongering.

“What I’m interested in is getting the best out of every pound we have to spend.”

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes said Lincolnshire Police had “stepped up to meet the current challenges and will continue to do so”.