Almost 85 new recruits are to join Lincolnshire Police this year as the force waits to hear whether its £117 million budget will be increased.
A group of 30 officers, drawn from the force’s PCSO and Special Constabulary ranks, were invited to an induction evening in Lincoln last Thursday attended by Police and Crime Commissioner, Coun Marc Jones.
Some of the recruits going through the two-year Initial Police Learning and Development Programme will be based at Spalding Police Station, with others to be assigned to Boston.
Coun Jones said: “We want to go slightly above the budgeted figure of 1,100 police officers in order to give us a little bit of headroom and have police on the frontline which is very important.
“If we aim for 1,100 police officer, we’d end up with 1,050, so we wanted to get to a point where we have a little bit of breathing space for when officers are sick or on leave.
“The challenge for us is that we’re still in the throes of waiting for the police budget to be finalised.
If we aim for 1,100 police officer, we’d end up with 1,050, so we wanted to get to a point where we have a little bit of breathing spaceCoun Marc Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire
“But eqully, we don’t know what the Government’s funding formula for police forces will be in the future.”
Coun Jones confirmed that a second group of recruits will join in the autumn, made up of trained police officers who are transferring from other forces in England and Wales.
He added: “I am delighted to see a wave of new officers recruited by the force to help in the fight to make our communities safer.”
Full details of policing in Lincolnshire over the next few years, including future budgets, will be revealed in a new Police and Crime Plan this spring.
Coun Jones said: “I’m doing some forward planning in the medium term and the Chief Constable (Neil Rhodes) has told me what resources he would like.
“But we don’t know what the views of the new Chief Constable (Bill Skelly) will be, so we’ll probably have ten to 20 more police above the 1,100 figure.
“My strategy in the new Police and Crime Plan is really about where do we find our money to invest in the right technology and equipment to make our officers as agile as possible.
“It does mean a move away from more traditional policing and around our need for buildings which are largely unused.
“As Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, a key focus of my work is to ensure that I find new and innovative ways to make our force as efficient as possible so we can free up funds to invest in frontline officers and their equipment.
“I will continue my efforts to ensure the Government provides fairer funding for Lincolnshire but, in the meantime, I am confident that we can spend the funds we do have to provide the high quality policing the community deserves.”