Police Commissioner urges public to have their say

Alan Hardwick in Horncastle earlier this year EMN-151223-154703001
Alan Hardwick in Horncastle earlier this year EMN-151223-154703001
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Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick is urging people to comment on the future of the force - including whether they would back any reduction in frontline officers and PCSO’s.

Mr Hardwick describes the Government’s current funding formula for the force as ‘not fit for purpose.’

He admits deciding where resources should be focussed is increasingly difficult as he attempts to ‘balance the books’ and drive down crime rates further.

In a consultation - launched on his website - Mr Hardwick invites residents to comment on where they would like to see money spent.

The first question people are asked is:

‘Around 50% of the total police budget for Lincolnshire is spent on police officers. As my budget reduces, maintaining the current numbers of police officers is getting harder. Many other police forces are having to reduce their numbers of police officers. However, I have looked to find budget savings elsewhere so that we can maintain police officer numbers at 1,100.

Do you think this is right? Police officer numbers should be maintained at 1,100.’

Respondents are given a range of answers, ranging from strongly agreeing to strongly disagreeing.

The second question is along similar lines but relates to whether people think the current level of 149 PCSO’s should be maintained,

PCSO’s are partially funded by Lincolnshire County Council (£1.2m).

Mr Hardwick goes on to ask which crimes people think officers should spend more or less time investigating including cyber-crime, modern day slavery, anti social behaviour and burglaries.

People are also asked how confident they would be police would help in an emergency and what level of support victims of a crime receive.

Mr Hardwick also wants to know if residents feel safer than they did a year ago and how they contact police.

Mr Hardwick explains: “I have worked with the Chief Constable and partner agencies to do all that we can to make sure crime continues to reduce.

“The Chief Constable and I have worked tirelessly over the last year to convince Government to reform the outdated, unfair and opaque police funding arrangements and ensure that finally we achieve a fair deal for Lincolnshire. Thanks to our positive and productive conversations, Government agreed to do so.

“Then, just a few weeks ago, the Minister of State announced there would be a one year delay in implementing the new funding arrangements. As a result Government have applied, yet again, a formula that they themselves acknowledge is not fit for purpose.”

Mr Hardwick again stresses he is reluctant to increase his share of council tax bills but admits the force - together local councils - face significant funding challenges.

l The consultation can be found at www.lincolnshire-pcc.gov.uk.