Row brewing over police cuts letter

Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre
Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre
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FOUR Fylde coast MPs have been accused ignoring concerns about cutbacks raised by the police officers union.

The Lancashire Police Federation says the force has to find savings of £41m over the next four years as part of the Government’s spending review, and is proposing to reduce the number of police officers by 550.

But the federation said they feared for public safety because of the cuts and wrote to six MP’s including Wyre MP Ben Wallace, Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw, Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard, and Fylde MP Mark Menzies.

Letter

The letter criticised the Conservative MP’s for backing the cuts and asked to discuss concerns but to their “surprise and disappointment”, none of the four Fylde Coast MP’s has responded.

John O’Reilly, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation said: “The lack of response from these MPs has been, quite frankly, appalling,”

“One contacted us to talk about our concerns, but the other five just seem to have ignored us.

“Considering the seriousness of the issues we have raised, I would have expected a reply at least out of courtesy.

“We have been very surprised and disappointed by their failure to talk to us. Surely this issue is worthy of a response”.

MPs have hit back saying savings could be made without seriously affecting crime-fighting and called for back-office cuts to be made in the force.

Paul Maynard said he did intend to respond to the letter.

He added: “It’s difficult to respond to a letter which accused me of being “utterly disgusting” in the first paragraph.

“I prioritise letters from my constituents and of course I will respond to this letter in due course.”

MP Eric Ollerenshaw, also said he intended to reply.

He said: “I have asked Lancashire Police why the last 10 years they have recruited 475 extra Policeman but recruited more than 1,000 non police staff,

“In the current budget they are planning to cut 550 police officers and 250 non police staff, it doesn’t make sense, I am still waiting for an explanation.”

MP Ben Wallace said he planned to respond and did not understand how officers felt hard done by.

He added: “Police pay deals have been honoured when other public worker wages have been frozen and taxpayers have topped up police pensions so I don’t see how they can say the police are not valued.”

Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, was unavailable for comment but his office said he had drafted a response to the police federation which was currently in the post.