Police and crime commissioner Marc Jones hopes to crack Lincolnshire Police funding case
The figurehead of Lincolnshire’s police force is confident that he can find a way to get more money spent on officers in the county.
Police and crime commissioner Marc Jones won a resounding re-election victory this month – and says he has already had assurances from Home Secretary Priti Patel that the Government’s funding formula will be reformed.
Before the May 6 elections, we revealed that nowhere in the country has fewer police officers than Lincolnshire at 141 per 100,000 people – and that South Kesteven and North Kesteven combined has just 139 officers directly dedicated to policing the two districts.
It is widely thought that the way police funding is calculated is holding the county back – and fails to take into account issues such as the size of the area and the challenges of rural policing.
Mr Jones, a Conservative, believes his connections with the Government can bear fruit and was delighted to hear the Home Secretary and Kit Malthouse, the police minister, reiterate their commitment to reform since he won his second term.
Mr Jones said: “I have got the Home Secretary’s phone number and she will take my call.
“If they change the funding formula then we can do a lot with a few extra million pounds. We are so used to managing with very little that if they do give us more we can do a lot with it.
“The big problem is that to give Lincolnshire more, somebody else gets less and redistribution of police finance is the most complicated thing you can do with policing.”
He said that he shares the desire of many residents who want to see more police on the beat and says neighbourhood policing is one of the priorities – albeit competing with other units in need of manpower, such as new roads and rural crime units.
Mr Jones said that the nature of crime in the modern day also means that the force has to think about more than traditional ‘bobbies on the beat’.
He said: “One of the challenges we have is that they have to work two beats now – the physical one and the virtual one. People are 10 times more likely to be victims of crime online.”
Mr Jones is working with senior officers to help establish the new rural crime team and was delighted to see a Government commitment to tougher rules on hare coursing in the Queen’s Speech.
He is also looking at a roads policing team and will push for a renewed focus on fly-tipping – which has been a big issue across the Grantham area in recent months.
Mr Jones said some fly-tipping comes through serious crime – with lorry loads of waste blighting our countryside. Some also comes from people touting for waste removal business on Facebook groups.
He said: “If it looks too good to be true then guess what? It’s tomorrow’s fly-tip.”
He added: “Fly-tipping is a huge problem, it affects people’s feeling of safety.”
With the elections delayed due to coronavirus, the commissioner now has a three-year term to deliver on his goals. He said: “I am very excited and keen to crack on. I was really clear that I wanted a positive, deliverable plan. I will now set about delivering that plan.”