Lancashire Police was one of the forces to be hit hardest by years of funding cuts, a new report today warns.
The National Audit Office report found the force had lost 20 per cent of its budget in real terms since 2010.
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Cash allocated by the Government makes up two thirds of Lancashire Police’s budget, while in some areas the figure is around 50 per cent, meaning the spending cuts have had a bigger impact. The rest of a force’s budget comes from money raised locally, such as through council tax.
The NAO found cuts were having an impact on the quality of service forces are able to provide.
The report added: “The Home Office’s light touch approach to overseeing police forces means it does not know if the police system is financially sustainable.
“It lacks a long-term plan for policing and significant gaps remain in its understanding of demand for police services and their costs.”
Head of the NAO Amyas Morse today said: “There are signs that forces are already experiencing financial strain and struggling to deliver effective services to the public.
“If the Home Office does not understand what is going on it will not be able to direct resources to where they are needed, with the risk that the situation could get worse.”
Meg Hillier, chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, said: “The government does not seem to understand the impact of this on local policing. The Home Office needs to get a grip on police funding to make sure it is not only sustainable, but also that funding is getting to where it is most needed.”