Our county’s police service is being destroyed

Mick Gradwell
Mick Gradwell
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There will be no neighbourhood policing, no mounted, no dogs, no public enquiry desks, no surveillance teams and no public order support units, if the latest round of proposed government cuts are implemented in Lancashire.

In all honesty, if these cuts do go ahead, the total loss of resources will mean that Lancashire police will no longer be operationally viable.

When the chief constable, Steve Finnigan, and the police and crime commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, received the news of these potential cuts they took the decision to immediately hold a press conference and tell the public. The warnings they provided are completely accurate and true but I just question whether they have acted wisely in playing most of their cards so early in the budget consultation process.

Although Mr Finnigan is now the most experienced chief constable in the country and he was outlining a catastrophic news worthy event, it did not hit the national news agenda. In fact, on the day of the conference nobody in the Home Office would discuss the issue.

It appears it was only the day after, that, with the assistance of Lancashire MPs, contact was made with the policing minister Mike Penning.

The new funding formula that is responsible for suggesting these swingeing cuts is obviously seriously flawed. However, whereas Lancashire and Cumbria police lose out significantly, other forces gain considerably.

I would have liked to have seen Mr Finnigan using the influence that he should have on the national stage to garner support from other chief constables to strengthen his position.

I suggest that, at this stage, the fight against these cuts should have been taking place behind closed doors. The Lancashire MPs should have been contacted, the funding formula should have been challenged and support sought from other chief constables, in particular those that could potentially profit from the situation. The timing for any press conference should have been closer to October 30, the date the consultation process closes.

By the end of October, this issue will be old news and therefore not a major problem for the government.

They will claim it is simply scaremongering and point out crime is decreasing. The momentum of this important protest appears to have been lost and it must be regained, otherwise this will become very dangerous for anybody who lives, works or visits the Lancashire area.