County police officer numbers at all time low

Lincolnshire Police officer numbers have reached an all time low after losing over 70 staff in the last 12 months.

The authority’s number of officers has dropped to 1,124 across the county, which is the lowest in Lincolnshire Police’s 38-year history.

Cuts are a direct result of the reduction in police central grant budget as part of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, announced in 2010.

Assistant Chief Constable, Keith Smy, insists the authority has been able to operate more efficiently and cope with the cuts.

“Having entered into collaboration with surrounding police forces and streamlined operational and investigative processes, our policing performance and service has been maintained and in some areas improved to date,” said Smy.

Alongside a decrease in officers, Lincolnshire Police has seen a cut of almost 100 staff, but a rise in its number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSO).

The increase in PCSOs is a due to delayed recruitment and the fact that funding is found from both a ring-fenced government grant and a contribution from Lincolnshire County Council.

Chief Constable Smy assured the number of PCSO officers will not decrease in the next year.

Smy said: “Funding streams are likely to be reviewed from April 2013 but until then the numbers of PCSOs are likely to remain relatively stable at around 140.”

Smy did speculate on the impact of future funding cuts and loss of officers and staff.

“The challenge is to sustain our level of performance in the face of continuing loss of officers and staff, it will get harder to do that each year,” said Smy.

Across the East Midlands there are over 500 less officers now than a year ago.