How much is Lancashire’s thin blue line worth to you?

Lancashire Police
Lancashire Police

The battle goes on to protect frontline policing staff as the public faces a tough choice on how Lancashire’s force is funded.

The ratio of police staff to population has dropped in the county every year since 2011.

Then there were 3.9 police staff for every 1,000 people. That figure in 2015 had fallen to 3.3.

When front line officers are taken into accout the drop is far smaller, from 2.3 per 1,000 in 2011 to two last year.

It reflects a push in Lancashire to protect front line services, a commitment under increasing pressure as central Government funding diminishes.

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw says funding levels can only be maintained by raising council tax contributions at the maximum permitted level.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw

He is now asking the people of Lancashire just how much they are willing to pay in next year’s bill.

Mr Grunshaw said: “In Lancashire we have had to save £76m a year and we have significant savings to find by 2020.

“The Government is saying they are ‘protecting’ police funding.

“It’s just not true. Government funding is continuing to be cut

Police

Police

“Their announcement states: ‘No PCC who chooses to maximise precept in both years will face a reduction in cash funding next year compared to 2015/16’.

“In other words if I put up the council tax precept by the maximum amount I am allowed, we will maintain our funding.”

And Mr Grunshaw is worried by trends in statistics which are beginning to show a rise in crime and increasing demand on stretched services.

He said: “We are beginning to see a rise in crime in our area along with rising demand as health services and councils are scaled back due to their funding issues.

“Despite this, Lancashire Police will continue to manage these new cuts effectively and provide a quality service. But to suggest that more cuts won’t have an impact on the future of policing in our area is not realistic.

“We will be looking again at our resources and we will make more savings where they will have the least impact on our ability to fight crime and keep people safe.

“With all this in mind, I am launching a consultation on the council tax precept and would urge as many people as possible to have their say.

“I will act on the outcome of the consultation regardless of what the Government may be asking me to do.”

The Commissioner is responsible for setting the budget for the police and for deciding the amount of council tax the public in Lancashire pay towards it. As a police force Lancashire receives over 70 per cent of it’s funding through central government and 26 per cent via the council tax precept.

The public will be asked if they want to freeze the payment, increase it by two per cent (an average of 6p per week) or by five per cent (an average of 16p per week).

You can access the survey at www.Lancashire-pcc.gov.uk