Fears over emergency police response

Fears have been raised over the level of policing across Fylde after it emerged officers earmarked to respond to emergency calls have to log in and out of work in Blackpool.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 18th September 2014, 5:00 pm
999 fears: Coun Liz Oades (below) is worried police officers have to log in at Blackpool before going to Fylde
999 fears: Coun Liz Oades (below) is worried police officers have to log in at Blackpool before going to Fylde

While community policing teams remain in their areas, the reactive officers are now being asked to cover a much wider area of the Fylde coast.

Kirkham Coun Liz Oades said: “I’ve raised concerns with the Police and Crime Commissioner about reactive officers signing in and out from Blackpool – why can’t they do that in Kirkham and keep officers in the area?

“I have residents telling me police aren’t responding within a day and are even being asked to do some investigative work themselves.

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Coun Liz Oades

“It’s no good giving them a sat nav and hoping they can find their way to Fylde when we need them urgently.”

But Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “I have repeatedly stressed my commitment to local policing and the importance of local officers, both to the public and to the Chief Constable.

“That is not something which is going to change, and neighbourhood policing teams in Lancashire will remain.

“As a result of the significant budget savings which have had to be made, the Chief Constable – supported by myself – has had to make some tough decisions about the approach to policing in Lancashire, which includes where officers parade on.

“However, I would like to reassure Coun Oades and the residents of Kirkham that their policing cover remains strong – they have access to both neighbourhood police officers and specialist officers if necessary.

“I am also overseeing investment in improved technology for our officers, which will enable them to spend more time out in their communities and will ensure the nearest available officer is always deployed to incidents, with the aim of speeding up response times.

“I appreciate some aspects of the changes may appear concerning, but the aim is to use officer time more effectively.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner, I will continue to monitor the impact this has, and will act if necessary to ensure standards remain high.”

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman added: “The unprecedented reduction in policing budgets means that we have had to change the way we organise and provide our service.

“Under this process we have actually been able to invest in increased neighbourhood officers across the Fylde who now provide more support to response policing than previously.

“The remainder do commence their tour of duty at Blackpool, but they are deployed to the Fylde area and we are rolling out improved technology to ensure that they are available and responding on the Fylde throughout their tour of duty.”

“I welcome the feedback we have had from Coun Oades, we still have further savings we need to make and are keen to understand what aspects of policing our communities really value.”