Lincolnshire Constabulary wins high praise from Shadow Police Minister Jack Dromey who warns further funding cuts would jeopardise the operational functionality of the force.
Mr Dromey’s visit to Lincoln was made in the wake of Operation Pottery- a major raid to arrest alleged perpetrators of modern slavery. The Shadow Minister was joined by Parliamentary Candidate for Lincoln Lucy Rigby.
In 2010, Lincolnshire Police was given the task of saving £20m in five years. Under current Home Office proposals, the force estimates it will face a cut of around £7 million in 2016/17, increasing to £11 million in 2017/18. £11 million equates to the loss of 236 police officers on top of the 120 that have already been lost.
After meetings with senior officers including Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick, Mr Dromey went out on the beat with officers in the Portland Street area of the city.
Commenting on his visit and the challenges faced by the force, Mr Dromey said: “I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen, but also very concerned.
“I’ve heard first hand of some outstanding work done, most recently Operation Pottery. It’s a model other police forces nationwide can copy – highly effective, well organised operation, working with a range of partners to tackle the evil of modern day slavery.
“I’ve also been out on the beat seeing how the police operate in the town centre, ensuring the safety and security of that community.
“However I’m also very concerned. It’s clear Lincolnshire Police have coped remarkably well over the past four years with the biggest cuts in policing since the War. Policing’s on a cliff edge. If we continue down Theresa May’s path of the biggest cuts to police in Europe, there will be serious consequences for the people of Lincolnshire.”
“Our view is the duty of any government is the safety and security of all its citizens, and that’s why the first thing we intend to do is cancel the proposed cuts in 2015 and 2016, reversing the tide of the past four years. We are not going to take risks with the people of Lincolnshire.
“I’ve heard disturbing stories of an excellent police force trying to cope as the thin blue line is stretch ever thinner. Lincolnshire is a very big county with a diminishing number of police officers, and that means when people call for help it can take up to two-three hours for police to get to them.
“That can’t be right. I don’t blame the police, they are doing their best in difficult circumstance. We need to put more police officers back on the beat in the communities of Lincolnshire.”