The chief of Lincolnshire Police says he is fighting the Government for a fairer deal because funding cuts will mean that his force could go out of business.
Neil Rhodes has written a strong letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, outlining his “grave concerns”, saying if the present formula for funding police forces continues resources will be cut to the bone in Lincolnshire and community police officers will be almost wiped off the streets.
Speaking to the Journal today at Force Headquarters in Nettleham, Mr Rhodes said: “Primarily what people will see is that neighbourhood policing and access to a community beat constable will almost cease. That will be the main impact and your readers won’t find it hard to work out. We had 1,220 officers over past three years and that has been cut to 1,100.”
Mr Rhodes added: “We have to find a fairer funding deal for Lincolnshire, one that recognises the basic cost of being in business.”
Mr Rhodes says the formula used to work out police budgets is unfair on Lincolnshire and other forces which are feeling the bite. Lincolnshire is the third largest policing area in the country with just 1,100 officers and 149 PCSOs to police it.
In his letter to Mrs May Mr Rhodes says: “If budget reductions were with more surgical precision than the blunt instrument of straight percentage cuts, real progress might be made.”
Mr Rhodes told the Journal: “We already are the lowest cost per head of population in the country but Grantham rate payers pay a higher proportion of that cost and that doesn’t seem right. Our officers have the third highest workload in the country because we cover such a lot of territory and there are fewer of us yet despite that we perform really strongly when you compare us to other forces so we are in no way shape or form in poor condition. It simply does not make sense to destroy or severely damage a force that is such a good example to others.”
Mr Rhodes has called upon Mrs May to meet him and Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick to discuss the matter.