Police commissioner tells Grantham meeting he hopes for a ‘Christmas present’ in form of better funding for Lincolnshire
The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner told a public meeting in Grantham last night he is hoping for a much better funding deal for the county’s police force when it is announced on December 22.
Alan Hardwick told the meeting in the council chamber in St Peter’s Hill that he and Chief Constable Neil Rhodes had been praised by the Home Secretary for the case they had put forward for more funding.
Mr Hardwick told the meeting: “We think we have done all we possibly can to let the Government know we are part of the solution rather than part of the problem here in Lincolnshire.
“The evidence we have given to the Home Secretary has been based on facts. There has been no smoke and mirrors. We had to back up all our arguments and initiatives with proof. So we await now with bated breath the outcome of the revamped funding formula.”
Mr Hardwick added: “We won’t get the ‘word’ until December 22, but I am hoping it’s going to be a Christmas present.”
He said he wanted something that will ‘stop the unfairness that has been presented by successive governments’ on this county with this funding formula over many years.
The Government has said it wanted to simplify the funding formula for police forces to make it fairer.
Policing minister, Mike Penning, said earlier this year: “The current model for allocating police funding is complex, opaque and out of date. This consultation sets out proposals to deliver a police funding model for the future which is fair, robust and transparent.”
At the end of last year Chief Constable Mr Rhodes told the Journal that his force had got a ‘raw deal’ and faced a cut in its budget of millions of pounds which could see it become unviable within three years.
Mr Hardwick told the meeting that recent reports of a possible 75 per cent increase in the Lincolnshire budget were incorrect. He said it had come as a ‘huge surprise’ to him but then ‘the elation lasted a millisecond’. He said the experts had done the calculations to show how difficult it was to provide a level playing field for all the police forces in the country. Mr Hardwick added: “They said they if we were to do this, this, this, and this then Lincolnshire will need a 75 per cent increase in its funding.”
Coun Ray Wootten, chairman of South Kesteven District Council and a member of the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel, organised the public meeting. He said: “I thank Alan Hardwick, the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, for attending the meeting and also members of the public who asked a variety of interesting and challenging questions. The Commissioner stated that he would be delighted to return in the New Year for those who could not make the meeting.”