Lincolnshire police chiefs demand fairer deal for ‘overstretched’ service

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Lincolnshire Police today called for a fairer funding deal from the Government after it published a report which says the county’s frontline services are ‘overstretched’.

Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor said the force was continuing to maintain levels of service but faces a “significant funding shortfall” unless the county receives more Government grant.

His comments follow an HMICFRS report, released today, in which inspectors said they had “considerable concern” about a predicted budget deficit for next year.

The report praised the force for:

Investing well in ICT and other technology to improve efficiency

Commitment to projects that should increase the capacity and capability

Succession planning and nurturing future leaders

But overall the report graded the force’s efficiency rating as “requires improvement” because inspectors deemed the force was “not far enough ahead at the time of inspection to show a clear plan to deal with an anticipated budget deficit”.

DCC Naylor defended the force’s record of efficiency and said it was almost impossible to plan, in any detail, the myriad of possible implications of a funding cut.

He said: “We have not yet been told what Lincolnshire will be awarded as part of the funding formula from central government, and have indeed made no secret of the fact that this force is currently stretched thinly and has been for some time.

“Funding for this region has not been fairly balanced and we are hoping that will change in the future. Investing time and valuable resources into planning for a limitless number of funding scenarios would, ironically, be inefficient.

“What I can say is that we are continuing to maintain current levels of service to Lincolnshire residents and they can be sure we are constantly working to ensure our resources are channeled and deployed in the most effective way possible, but we can only sustain that so long. We are facing a significant funding shortfall and one that will need us to make difficult decisions in the very near future.

“We are always assessing how best to use our current resources. Indeed, this HMIC report acknowledges that.”

The HMIC report also concluded that “assessment of emerging and likely demand for its services is limited but developing, and it does not always consider public expectations.”

DCC Naylor said: “Where HMICFRS have said we need to make improvements in terms of demand, we have shown that work is already in place. The HMICFRS report raises areas of improvement that are already being worked upon, or we will be able to make advancements or adjustments once we understand what the financial settlement will be for police forces in England and Wales. We of course take on board recommendations from this report and will strive to make sure we make improvements were we can.”