Lincolnshire Police would struggle with any more cuts says Rhodes

Ch Con Neil Rhodes with Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick. ENGEMN00120130328134721
Ch Con Neil Rhodes with Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick. ENGEMN00120130328134721

Lincolnshire’s Chief Constable Neil Rhodes has admitted the standard of policing in the county will suffer - if the Government imposes any additional funding cuts.

Mr Rhodes was speaking ahead of this week’s visit by a Home Office task force which will be examining how Lincolnshire Police is coping with budget cuts.

The visit follows talks earlier this month between Mr Rhodes, Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick and the Government’s Policing Minister Mike Penning

Although the talks were described as “positive and encouraging”, there were no assurances from Mr Penning about future funding plans for the county.

There are growing concerns that any further reductions will have a serious impact on policing.

Mr Hardwick has previously admitted the force is facing a “financial precipice.”

Mr Rhodes said: “We have realistic expectations. The Minister was never going to come to us with his cheque book but we are encouraged that he is listening and agreed to send the task force.

“We are making clear that we are not asking for more money, rather that we cannot handle even more cuts whilst maintaining the level and standard of policing that the public expects and deserves.

“We made clear to Mr Penning that if other forces policed in the ‘Lincolnshire Way’ millions of pounds could be saved.”

Lincolnshire is already facing a £3m cut in Government funding in 2015-16, although the position in future years is far from certain.

During his visit, Mr Penning confirmed the formula which funds all police forces will be overhauled, but warned no extra funding would be available.

Much could depend also on the outcome of May’s General Election with Labour saying it would look to abolish the role of commissioners.

Mr Rhodes added: “The Government is undertaking a fundamental review and Mr Penning really understands that things have got to change and we feel that our voice is being heard.

“We won’t let go of this and if the complexion of this Government changes after the General Election we will continue to state our case just as strongly.”