Lincolnshire PCC proposes council tax increase to maintain officer numbers

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has recommended an increase of 1.95% for the policing segment of the county’s council tax.

PCC Alan Hardwick submitted a series of commitments and proposals to the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel, confirming that he intended to maintain the number of police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) for a further year. Currently, there are around 1100 officers and 149 PCSOs.

For the majority of Lincolnshire residents, the proposed council tax increase as part of the recommendations amounts to around 7p per week.

Alan Hardwick said: “My proposal ensures I am able to continue to deliver all of the commitments I made in my Police and Crime Plan.

“Most importantly it means the Chief Constable can deliver what the people of Lincolnshire tell me they want to see. Visible, local policing is the bedrock of policing in Britain and it is essential we do all we can to maintain it in Lincolnshire.”

In December 2014, Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Neil Rhodes warned the Home Secretary Theresa May in a letter that the force could be the first in the country to “fall over” due to funding cuts.

With a predicted 4% decrease in government funding, Mr Rhodes highlighted a shortfall of £10.4 million – equating to 236 police officers.

The Chief Constable and PCC have recently put together an application for extra funding after a meeting with Policing Minister Mike Penning.

Alan Hardwick added: “Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has clearly stated it has concerns about the ability of Lincolnshire Police to maintain its current level of service to the communities of Lincolnshire beyond 2016 and deems us to be at risk.

“Without a more equitable slice of the national police grant, or substantial precept rises in future years, we would see significant degradation of service from 2016 onwards.

“That would undoubtedly take the form of fewer PCSOs, police officers and the staff who support them. The Chief Constable and I have been taking this message to the heart of Government over recent weeks and they are listening.

“The Chief Constable and I are optimistic for the coming year and beyond. As a low cost and efficient organisation, we are very much part of the solution to building a sustainable model for police funding. For Lincolnshire this will result in a fairer deal for our communities, help us to continue to reduce crime and ensure our services are there when people need them.”