Worries over police response times

Lancashire police
Lancashire police
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The Home Secretary will be asked to review police funding in Lancashire after claims that cutbacks are damaging public confidence.

County Hall is to send a letter to Theresa May urging her to look again at Government economies which have led to major problems with manning police station front counters and the non-emergency 101 call line.

Mrs May will be told that staffing levels are now so stretched that some stations are having to close their doors to the public during normal office hours because they don’t have the manpower to cover.

And callers ringing the 101 line to report incidents like anti-social behaviour are facing lengthy waits because there are too few operators.

“A lack of staff at Hutton (headquarters) has meant the communications centre hasn’t been working as well as it should,” conceded Coun David Borrow, deputy Labour leader, who suggested the authority should drop Mrs May a line to alert her to the staffing worries in the county’s police service.

“I have had contact with the Police and Crime Commissioner and the figures in terms of how long people have to wait to get a phone answered have got a little better, but it is clearly not adequate,” he said. “I think we should ask the Home Secretary to review the funding of Lancashire Constabulary to see if we are getting the appropriate amount of funding so our police service can work as well as possible.”

Coun David Whipp said urgent action was needed “to make sure that call answering is restored from the atrocious levels of service there have been and that we get those police stations open at the advertised times.”

Coun Whipp suggested the authority needed to “put down a marker” about the importance of neighbourhood policing in Lancashire. He said it had been the foundation stone of public confidence in the county’s police service. And he added that the response times for calls to the 101 line and the unplanned desk closures were “causing consternation and consequently undermining public confidence.”