“We have had to make difficult decisions but are working hard to continue to keep Lincolnshire communities safe”: Chief Constable Chris Haward on force budget
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Last week, Chief Constable Chris Haward outlined the difficult decisions Lincolnshire Police has had to make in order to balance the force budget, which includes changing the PCSO model. Today, after the Council Tax precept of £14.94 was proposed by PCC Marc Jones and approved by the Police and Crime Panel in order to help decrease the force’s funding gap, he further described the changes that will take place in order to keep communities in Lincolnshire safe.
“We had planned our budget around a number of possible options,” Mr Haward said, “and one was that the precept was approved at this level, which helps immensely in being able to maintain a good and effective level of policing here in Lincolnshire.
“The very difficult decisions we have had to make regarding reducing our PCSO model from 91 to 50 do not mean that we are not able to keep people safe. It’s correct that we have had to make savings, but it’s also correct that we have balanced that potential risk by using our budget smartly and putting our people where they are most needed. To do this, we are:
Developing a new PCSO model that places officers in areas of most need based on threat, risk and harm;
Maintaining police officer numbers at the uplift target of 1186, especially because the money allocated by government to recruit police officers is ring-fenced;
Investing nine police staff in the Safeguarding Hub to ensure effective safeguarding, management of the Domestic Violence disclosure scheme, information sharing with relevant partners and swift referrals into the Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) Unit;
Investing 12 additional detectives in the PVP unit to protect the most vulnerable children and adults in our communities;
Investing 15 call takers into the Force Control Room to improve call response times;
Investing in the Serious Collisions Investigation Unit to improve the safety of Lincolnshire’s roads;
Investing three additional officers and two police staff in the Professional Standards Department to increase community confidence;
Investing in Learning and Development to ensure our officers and staff are equipped with the skills needed to deliver high quality services to our communities;
Following a review of our Officer Deployment Model, we are investing in a revised model to place more officers on duty in peak demand periods thereby improving incident response times.
“We have had to make some very difficult decisions but are working hard to continue to keep Lincolnshire communities safe and are doing this by making the budget work for us - balancing our resource and investment to put our money into community safety. All of the areas where we’re putting new or extra staff are areas we know cause the most harm to people in this county. While we would never choose to reduce, we have made sure we offset any future reductions by countering with investment and, of course, making sure the new PCSO model delivers the best level of neighbourhood policing possible. “Our funding position here in Lincolnshire is not and has not been favourable for some years, and especially when you look to some of our neighbouring forces who are a similar size and have similar issues to tackle. Some of those forces are able to recruit in areas without the need to reduce in others, and this is just one of the reasons why myself and the PCC will continue to lobby government for a fairer settlement in police funding. We remain hopeful that the government’s pledge to review the police funding formula will take place as planned and will deliver us a fairer settlement.”