Worried neighbours take fight against police budget cuts to Downing Street

Photo: David Hurst'Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw and Chief Constable Steve Finnigan, left

Photo: David Hurst'Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw and Chief Constable Steve Finnigan, left

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Concerned Fylde coast residents are taking the fight against the savage budget cuts facing Lancashire Police all the way to Downing Street.

A letter on behalf of the 332 neighbourhood watch groups in Blackpool and Fylde calls on the Prime Minister to recognise the “unfairness” of the latest plans to wipe up to £87m from the force’s balance sheet.

It follows a public outcry at a Home Office review of police funding that would hit Lancashire Police harder than any force outside London.

A petition against the cuts in the county – which bosses have warned would cost jobs and spell the end for neighbourhood policing – has been signed by more than 8,000.

The letter to David Cameron, signed by Blackpool and Fylde Neighbourhood Watch Executive Committee member Dave Blacker, says the impact of the latest cost-saving measures would be “frightening”.

It adds: “The committee has grave concerns about the future of neighbourhood policing. We... are asking if you would please recognise the particular unfairness of singling out of Lancashire for the worst funding cuts without any sound justification or argument and arrange for the proposal to be reconsidered.”

In his letter, Mr Blacker says the committee “fully understands” the need to tighten the purse strings but says the scale of cuts being proposed risks “putting lives at risk”.

He also highlights concerns that criminals would take advantage of the lack of officers on the streets, making them unsafe. The letter concludes: “It does not matter what anyone’s politics are, we all expect and demand, as a basic right, to have our communities properly policed in sufficient numbers.”

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan has previously warned these latest cuts could see some specialised units –such as roads policing and the dog unit – heavily scaled back or scrapped entirely.

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commission Clive Grunshaw said: “The level of cuts that could result from the proposed changes to the funding formula combined with the comprehensive spending review is unprecedented.

“I am very grateful for the support I continue to receive in challenging the Government over its proposals and would urge all Lancashire residents to get behind the ‘Cut the Cuts’ campaign.”