Lancashire Police is set to be among the worst hit police forces in the country when “savage” new cuts kick in, it has today emerged.
The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Clive Grunshaw today hit out at plans to slash another £25m from the coffers – on top of the £74m savings the force has already made since 2010.
He said he will be demanding answers from senior ministers, including the Home Secretary Theresa May, over the “devastating” cuts that he says will put Lancashire communities at risk.
The Government has reviewed the way it funds police forces and Lancashire Police said it expects to come off worst when the details are finalised.
The Home Office today sent a letter to PCCs asking for feedback on its latest proposals, which have not yet been made public.
It comes as Lancashire Police is already bracing itself for further cuts when the Treasury announces the results of its comprehensive spending review next month.
Mr Grunshaw said: “While the full implications are not yet clear there is no doubt that these savage cuts, which come on top of the already significant savings which have had to be made, will have a devastating impact on the standards of policing which the constabulary is able to deliver and which our communities have come to expect.
“It is no exaggeration to say that people in our communities will be left at risk.”
The news comes just days after The Gazette revealed Lancashire Police is set to lose another 400 officers in the next five years.
Chief Constable Steve Finnigan has already described the scale of the budget cuts as “madness” and today’s announcement means further savings will need to be identified.
Mr Grunshaw added: “This clarification from the policing minister, Mike Penning, makes it clear that the likely outcome for Lancashire is far worse than we had expected. In fact it looks as if we will be the worst affected force in the country.
“Lancashire has been repeatedly praised as being an outstanding and efficient force in recent inspections by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and this feels as though we are being singled out and punished for our success.
“I am demanding an explanation from the Government to explain why this is the proposal and I have already contacted the policing minister, Mike Penning and the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to ask for a meeting but they are unable to see me at present.
“I will be in Westminster on Tuesday meeting Lancashire’s MPs and I will be making them fully aware of the implications of these changes.”
Policing minister Mike Penning said: “Police reform is working and crime has fallen by more than a quarter since 2010, according to the independent crime survey for England and Wales.
“However, if we want policing in this country to be the best it can be, then we must reform further, and that includes putting police funding on a long-term, sustainable footing.
“The current model for allocating police funding, is complex, opaque and out of date. That is why we have consulted on principles for reform of funding arrangements for the police in England and Wales, ensuring they are fair, robust and transparent.
“We are refining our proposed model in light of responses to the public consultation and are engaging further with Police and Crime Commissioners and forces as part of this process.
“Allocations for individual police force areas have not been set and decisions on funding will not be made until the spending review reports in November.”