The future of Lincolnshire police
Cllrs Steve and Pauline Palmer attended the police panel held at Manby. This panel was looking at the report from the police and crime commissioner Marc Jones (con) and the suggested precept. As Independent councillors working for our residents we like to have first hand knowledge of what is going on.
The first thing that we thought note worthy was that only 26% of crimes are solved. A question was asked about the need for more beat officers on the streets. This was answered with agreement but back office officers are just as important. The backlog in firearm certificate applications and regular monitoring visits should ease as it goes digital, we were told.
On the precept.
The government seem to have no intention of increasing the home office budget share of policing in Lincolnshire before 2020 so in fact this means in real terms a 2% cut.
Staff pay is expected to have a 2% rise not the previous 1% which is an increased cost pressure. The government have kindly allowed an increase on the precept of 2% or £12 depending which is the highest. This means in their kindness they are asking us to pay directly through council tax this increase.
The fairer funding review was going to have an early public consultation, which is now not happening. Instead is a new spending review in 2019, so the earliest a new funding formulas could come in would be 2020 or later. The finance officer stated that since austerity started they have had to make £26.4 million in savings (cuts). But it does not get better because another £3.4 million has to be found in 2019/20 which as an example would be 64 police officers or 100 PCSOs. In 21/22 rise to £7 million savings (cuts) which is another 68 police officers or 132 PCSOs equivalent.
Out of all the forces, Lincolnshire recieved the 4th lowest amount of money from government per head. Lincolnshire has 5% in reserves which is the higher end of recommendation for prudency. This puts us 12th highest in the list for reserves.
The precept rise was set at £11.97 per band D property or 5.8%. It should be noted on top of this increase several million pounds are being used just to stay level. The chief constable said he would aim to have 1100 police officers and 120 PCSOs after a recruitment drive in April. Without this increase in precept and cash injection from reserves he would immediately have to look at reductions in policing in Lincolnshire.
The Police and Crime Commisioner said he had a mandate from the public who had told him they would pay more if it meant more officers. However it looks as if the increase that we Lincolnshire people are going to have to pay directly is just to hold water not put more bobbys on the beat. This is because of government inaction in dealing with the unfair funding issue, and leaving us short. So we are picking up the bill yet again. Cllr Steve Palmer, Mayor