In the face of a £10.4 million shortfall in funding, the chief of Lincolnshire Police has spoken to this newspaper about a planned application for a special emergency grant from central government.
Lincolnshire Police’s Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and the county’s MPs, have met with the Minister of State for Policing Mike Penning at Westminster Hall, where the option of applying for a portion of an emergency £15 million fund generated from savings was put forward.
It comes after the latest £3 million cut to the county’s policing budget, and letters from Mr Rhodes, the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick and the county’s Police and Crime Panel to the Home Secretary.
Mr Rhodes explained: “In three years’ time, if the government funding cuts continue, there will be a £10.4 million funding gap for Lincolnshire Police. That equates to 236 officers.
“The force is the lowest cost per head of population in the country, but have the third highest workload, so we are doing well under pressure. But if 236 officers go out of 1100, it is not sustainable.
“When it becomes a question about the safety of people in Lincolnshire, it is just not acceptable.”
After hearing their concerns, Mr Penning is reported by Mr Rhodes to have said that he would ‘consider’ an application by the PCC for emergency funding.
Mr Rhodes and Mr Hardwick are meeting this afternoon to discuss the application, including the amount they would be asking for, although an exact timeframe of how long the process may take is not yet known.
The PCC is also consulting with the Police and Crime Panel to determine whether a rise in the police precept paid by taxpayers could also help meet the shortfall.