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Lancashire Police seek public views on spending cuts

Author: 
John Freeman
Lancashire Police is inviting residents in the county to have their say on policing ahead of proposed spending cuts.


Lancashire Constabulary’s current annual budget is £300 million and it employs around 6,500 people (3,500 police officers and 2,500 police staff). but the force has to find savings of around £43.75m over the next four years, something it hopes to do whilst limiting the impact on the front line and quality of service provided to residents.

The Constabulary has already identified savings through its Sustaining Excellence programme of over £14million, largely through reductions to non front line services and is now considering options to find the remaining money.

Already in the firing line are Community Support Officers across the County - although some local authorities have stepped up to the plate and found money to continue these roles (see news story) after a huge public outcry and dismay from MPs on both sides of the House of Commons, including Morecambe MP David Morris and Lancaster's Green councillors.

Residents will be able to give their views on neighbourhood policing, response police and their preferred way of contacting the police by logging on to www.lancashire.police.uk and completing a short survey (direct link: www.lancashire.police.uk/public-questionnaire).

The type of questions they will be asked to answer include, how they would prefer to report crime, how they think calls to the police should be prioritised and whether they think the Constabulary could make it easier for people to talk to them about non emergency matters.

People will also be asked about their knowledge of neighbourhood policing, including how they would prefer to have their say on policing priorities and where they think cuts could be made to neighbourhood teams, if that becomes necessary.

Commenting on the move, Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said: “British policing is based on the premise that it’s a partnership between the people and the police and that’s certainly something we focus on here in Lancashire.

“As the police service faces up to the spending cuts of the next few years, we feel it is vital that the public are part of the solution to those problems.

“Over the coming months, we will have some tough decisions to make about the shape of local policing and the public's input into that decision making is vital. That’s why we are keen for people to complete the survey and have their say.

”We are committed to working with the public to ensure that the Constabulary continues to be known as a high performing force – one that reduces and detects crime, protects people and delivers high quality services – despite the tough financial situation," he added. "Clearly we already have some ideas of how we might achieve that but really would welcome the views of local people before we move forward.

”It is important that we ask ourselves and the public some challenging questions and that we rule nothing out, albeit our main priority is to protect the front line wherever possible.”

Malcolm Doherty, Chair of the Police Authority, said that it was important that people had the opportunity to have their say on local policing delivery, particularly as the funding cuts begin to bite.  He said:  “People’s views are invaluable. We need to know what people feel about the way in which police services are delivered so that we can make the best possible decisions for the people of Lancashire in the future.”

Urging people to take a few minutes to complete the survey, he added:  “There are undoubtedly some difficult decisions to be made and we want to make sure that we take the views of our communities into account.  It doesn’t take long to complete the survey, which is very easy to do, and it is only right that the public have a voice in the decision making process.”

• The survey is available at www.lancashire.police.uk/public-questionnaire  for two weeks until Monday 21 February.
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