Report criticises Lincolnshire Police after crime levels increase

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LINCOLNSHIRE Police risk not being able to provide a ‘sufficiently efficient or effective service’ in the future according to a report that was released by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary this week.

The report, entitled Policing in austerity: One year on, notes the county’s increase in crime between December 2010 and December 2011, and a budget gap of more than £3 million.

It states: “There are some forces where the data collected and the professional judgement of the HMI suggest multiple concerns around the position they are in and the current plans to manage the spending review reductions. These are the Metropolitan Police Service, Devon and Cornwall Police and Lincolnshire Police.”

But a police spokesman said the force is ‘a forward looking and progressive organisation’.

He said: “It is the most cost-effective in the country, has embraced a modernising agenda and delivers good performance.

“Despite a strong savings profile a funding gap remains and we look forward to discussing ways to bridge that gap with the Policing Minister later this month.”

The force, which needs to save £21 million between 2011 and 2015, was noted as one of the largest but lowest funded, spending £171 a year per person, which is the lowest in the country and well below the average of £206.

This, the report said, makes the funding cuts of the comprehensive spending review ‘particularly challenging’. By spring this year £18 million of planned savings had been outlined leaving £3 million still to find.

The report continued: “In our professional judgement, there is a risk that three forces may not be able to provide a sufficiently efficient or effective service for the public in the future. These forces are Devon and Cornwall Police; Lincolnshire Police; and the Metropolitan Police Service.”

The inspectorate added that further work is to be done to make sure the savings are achieved and despite a planned staff reduction of 610, including 140 officers, more staff cuts are likely.