Fears for future community safety have been expressed by Skegness Town Council with calls for the appointment of more police officers.
A 35-page review of Lincolnshire Police by the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary was presented to the full council meeting on Wednesday, at which councillors praised the force for its efficiency, in spite of a reduction in its workforce since 2010 from 2,272 to 1,463.
However, the review warned the force would be ‘unlikely to be able to maintain the level of service it provides to the public in future if it has to make further savings by the last option available to it: further reducing frontline officers and police community support officers (PCSOs)’ – and now councillors are calling on the Home Office to ensure this will not happen.
They want a review of the present formula which leaves Lincolnshire the lowest funded county in the nation, in spite of it being the second largest.
Coun Mark Anderson said: “It is clear from the statistics that the force is cut to the bone. We need to ask the Home Office to look at its formulaa for rural Lincolnshire and fund it adequately.”
The report said the force had achieved £23m savings since 2010. In spite of reducing some services, it stated ‘these had been manageable’.
However, Coun John Byford questioned this. He said: “In my own experience I called 999 to report a crime that was happening and was told to call 101 as it was not an emegerncy. It took eight minutes to get through and a car came two hours later at midnight, by which time it was all over. Had there been more staff I might not have had to make another call.”
Coun Steve Kirk said: “We are fortunate to live in a low crime area. But there is a fear of crime – that is greater.”
Coun Anderson warned this could change as the population grew and said: “There are plans for 2,000 new homes. We will need extra officers.”
His proposal a letter be written to the Home Office expressing the town council’s support for Lincolnshire Police and strongly objecting to further cuts was supported by the councillors.
Lincolnshire Police is determined to avoid further cuts at all costs. Chief Constable Neil Rhodes said: “Together with the Police and Crime Commissioner, we look forward enormously to continuing conversations with the Policing Minister regarding the challenges we face.”