Lincolnshire Police budget signals council tax rise and maintained officer numbers

The number of police officers and PCSOs employed by Lincolnshire Police will be maintained for the next year according to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget proposals.

The proposals, submitted on Wednesday, January 27, also recommend a rise in the force’s council tax precept.

In a video message to the Lincolnshire public, Alan Hardwick confirmed that his budget for 2016-17 would allow Chief Constable Neil Rhodes to maintain the current levels of policing.

Around 1,100 police officers and 149 PCSOs work for the force at present.

The PCC has recommended a council tax precept increase of 1.96% to pay for the staffing levels, and will draw on reserves to balance the budget.

As previously reported, Lincolnshire Police will receive a total grant of £65,561,535 for the 2016-17 financial year.

The settlement uses the old funding formula, as plans for a new way of allocating money to forces was put on hold due to a “statistical error” made by the Home Office.

According to Lincolnshire Police, the new funding formula would have given the force approximately £8m extra for policing.

The Police and Crime Panel is required to consider the commissioner’s proposed council tax precept at its meeting on February 5.

The commissioner is required to set his final precept by the end of February and issue the police and crime plan by the end of March.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick. Photo Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Alan Hardwick said: “This has been a challenging budget to set. Lincolnshire remains one of the lowest cost Forces per head of population in England and Wales, yet we continue to deliver performance that is as good as and, in many cases, better than more well-funded police areas.

“Since 2010-11, government grant for policing in Lincolnshire has reduced by 22%, equivalent to some £16m per year. That includes this year’s reduction of a further £337,000.

“More significantly, the county council is considering the withdrawal of the funding contribution it previously made to our PCSOs, a loss of £1.2m.

“Having consulted with the public and the Chief Constable I have therefore taken the difficult decision to recommend a precept rise to the Police and Crime Panel.

“I will also, for the first time, be drawing on reserves to balance the budget for 2016-17.

“The Chief Constable assures me these prudent measures will allow him to maintain Lincolnshire Police’s current performance and the safety of our communities.”