Warning over future of policing

Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.
Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones.
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Police resources across Lincolnshire could face potentially devastating cuts – unless the Government delivers millions of pounds of extra funding.

That is the stark warning from the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones who indicated that without the additional cash – as much as £7.5 million a year – levels of policing will be impossible to sustain.

He admits the current workload is starting to take its toll on officers and staff.

Mr Jones says the number of frontline officers is being currently maintained but admits there will be reductions – without more money.

In a report to be presented to the county’s Police and Crime panel on Friday, he confirms PCSOs are not being replaced when they leave.

He describes the current policy on staffing as ‘the least bad option’.

His comments come as latest figures show there is a 1.5 per cent reduction in the number of reported crimes across the county compared the same period last year.

Lincolnshire is now among the top six performing forces in the country – and ranked number one in the East Midlands.

Mr Jones states in his report that the Government promised to change the funding formula last year but ‘failed to follow through’.

Mr Jones admits it is impossible to plan for the future but says he is ‘optimistic’ the Government will deliver.

He adds: “I am optimistic that the new Government understands that we are a shining example of innovation and transformation and deliver effective policing as a result.

“I have made clear to them the dilemma I face and that it is in their hands to resolve it.”

Mr Jones believes Lincolnshire has a particularly strong case but says the Government’s current system for allocating funding does not recognise performance – or improvements made.

He adds: “Lincolnshire delivers policing at a cost of 42p per day per resident according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

“This is the lowest cost in England and Wales and policing has been successful with crime falling and Lincolnshire being a safe county.

“Some say we are the most underrated force in the country with good performance at lowest cost, but the toll being taken on officers and staff is starting to show.

“Some comparable forces can spend many millions more than Lincolnshire and this is not because of special threats or risks but simply because of history.”

Mr Jones is full of praise for the force in their continued efforts to drive down crime.

He adds: “I am pleased to report that in the period April to June 2016 all recorded crime showed a 1.5 per cent reduction compared to the same period last year and the five-year trend continues to show crime is reducing in Lincolnshire.

“The latest data shows that Lincolnshire Police is ranked 6th out of all 43 forces in England and Wales and first amongst the forces in our region.”

Mr Jones goes on to reveal house burglaries are down 6.1 per cent and anti-social behaviour down 3.4 per cent. There were 167 additional offences of violence against the person (with injury) but that increase is broadly in line with national figures.

The figures show a success rate of resolving 30 per cent of all crimes, with a 17.6 per cent rate for burglary dwelling crimes and 45.9 per cent for violence against the person with injury crimes.

He says the total number of people killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads during the calendar year stands at 140 (calculated to the end of May) which represents a rise of 12 per cent or 15 people compared to the same period last year.

Mr Jones adds: “However, overall there is an improving five-year trend and the force is on track to meet its aim of reducing the numbers of those killed and seriously injured by 20 per cent by the year