Axe fears for 800 officers

Police office on the beat
Police office on the beat
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UP to 800 police officers could be lost from county streets due to Government funding cuts.

That was the claim of Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden who has launched a campaign calling on the Government to rethink its 20 per cent cut to Lancashire Police’s budget.

The force has already lost more than 540 police officers so far and Mr Marsden held a campaign stall with supporters on Whitegate Drive to petition residents against cuts to front line policing.

He said: “Police numbers in Blackpool are reducing as cuts from central Government hit our local policing budgets.

“A 20 per cent cut on the police is criminally irresponsible and will only harm our local communities. Our police and PCSOs have worked to build and improve the Blackpool community over so many years. The cuts are also hitting preventative policing with budgets being squeezed, hindering our police in being pro-active on crime in the town.”

Mr Marsden said the closure of South Shore police station was a huge blow to the area

And he said the continuous issue of metal thefts was a big problem for Blackpool residents, with local churches and schools all being victims of this, “lowest of crimes”.

But Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said Mr Marsden needed to remember the Labour Party had also planned to cut the number of officers on the streets.

He said: “Everyone realises these are tough times – Labour equally had plans for police cuts perhaps even more damaging.

“I’ve managed to maintain the counter at Bispham and CCTV in the town centre, and I’ve done that by working with the police.

“I think Gordon needs to be open and frank about what Labour’s stance on policing in the resort would have been, had they still been in power.”