Here Comes The Commissioner’s Begging Bowl

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner  has launched a survey asking council tax payers across Lancashire if they are willing to pay more to support the recruitment of 80 police officers and increase proactive policing in their community. The consultation follows the budget announcement last week, where the Government has once again passed the burden of the cost of policing onto council tax payers .

The latest financial settlement for Lancashire sees it increase by £6.8m and whilst the Commissioner welcomes any additional grant, it does not even cover the increase to employer pension contributions for policing, announced in September. The real world consequences of dealing with this pensions deficit alone, is forecast to cost Lancashire Constabulary around £7.1m per year from 19/20 – the equivalent to over 150 police officers.

However, since 2010 Lancashire Constabulary  has had to make over £84m of savings as a direct result of the Government cutting £50m of central funding during the same period, with an additional £18m of savings required by 2022. In the same period Lancashire has lost 800 police officer posts and 350 support staff, meaning there are increasingly fewer places where savings can be made. Despite the cuts, the Constabulary is still deemed to be efficient and effective by external inspectors.

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said “I strongly believe that more funding should come from the Government and I will continue to lobby the Home Secretary and Policing Minister. The current funding for policing isn’t sufficient to deal with growing demands on the police and the financial settlement allows me to raise further funds but only through passing this burden onto council tax payers. This isn’t fair and it isn’t sustainable” .

“However, raising funds through council tax contributions is the only option the Government have given me to protect and bolster policing and if I did not consider this, it would mean a cut to our budget. There are over a million calls for service every year to Lancashire Police and investment is needed to keep up with ever increasing demands on policing and to deliver a service the public expect. Police officers and staff are working round the clock to keep people safe but, they are over stretched.”

“The public are being asked if they would be prepared to pay an extra 46 pence per week for a Band D property to invest in policing services in their area. Three quarters of Lancashire residents are in lower bands and so would pay less, and this would raise over £10m for policing in Lancashire”. 

Increased revenue raised through council tax would help to deal with the changing nature of crime and provide more local, visible and accessible policing that is more responsive to local issues. Mr Grunshaw explained, “Across the county residents tell me that they want to see better investment in policing. More detectives are also being recruited by the force ollowing public feedback asking to prioritise investigations around major crimes, child exploitation and domestic abuse but they want more police officers, and they want to see them out on the streets, tackling crime and keeping us safe.

“The reality is the ability to invest in our policing teams and meet the pressures on the service is completely reliant on raising council tax by the highest amount we can. With rising demands, increasing costs through inflation and growing crime we cannot accept a further reduction in our police budget.

“Asking for more money , the public quite rightly expect to get something in return and need to feel the difference which is why if the proposals go ahead, it would be spent on 80 extra police officers. These officers would form task forces in every district in Lancashire to support neighbourhood policing teams to solve problems in communities, focusing on reducing and preventing crime, anti-social behaviour, public order and supporting public events. This would include three officers dedicated to tackling rural crime in each of the county’s policing divisions.

“Specialist target teams would be increased to strengthen the force’s ability to tackle cross border crime and criminality, focusing on burglary and robbery 24/7 to ensure police are making an impact around the issues that really matter to people and cause the biggest misery and concern. These extra officers would also work alongside drones funded by proceeds of crime to locate and track offenders and support searches for missing people”.

The thing is, Clive, you want ME to pay for police pensions from MY pension. How fair is that?

4 thoughts on “Here Comes The Commissioner’s Begging Bowl

  1. stodgey

    In answer to his question, I helpfully left this comment on the Commissioner’s Facebook page.

    ‘Sorry, no. I absolutely refuse to pay more – for less. Thirty years ago in our village in West Lancs, we had a police house/station which was staffed by 6 local police personnel – and they walked around the village on their beats. They knew the locals, they knew the scallies, they knew who the vulnerable were. All the kids (including mine) knew them on first name terms. Now, in spite of huge village expansion, the police house has gone, flogged off for a housing conversion and the police have saved their shoe leather by getting into their squad cars and doing one to God knows where. In short, they’ve all gone. In spite of the village tripling in size since 1980, we now only see a police presence as a blur with the blues & twos flashing as they floor it through the village on their way to somewhere else. Very, very occasionally we see a couple of community bods plodding about, but if that is the modern interpretation of ‘community policing’ – then I’ll have to pass, because it just will not do.’

    1. westlancashirerecord Post author

      My reply would be the same, word for word, and we managed to save our voluntary staffed police station because British Transport Police wanted it. Our deal, denied us originally by our parish council stuffed with borough councillors, was a joint police/MerseyRail/parish lease. If you want to see a police car, go to Town Green Station, they park there occasionally!

    1. westlancashirerecord Post author

      The begging bowl was originally for real policing, or that’s how the story went. But now, claiming the need to raid my pension for police pensions is going too far. We are all in this together, or not at all! I can’t wait to read what the Commissioner will receive in HIS pension pot!


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