Lancashire council’s plea on policing cutbacks

MOTION: Coun David Whipp raised policing issues
MOTION: Coun David Whipp raised policing issues
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Lancashire County Council is to write to the Home Secretary Theresa May to make an impassioned plea to save Lancashire Constabulary from further cuts.

Councillors voted by 46 votes to 29 to appeal to the Government about the way police funding could be distributed and to look again at the future settlement for Lancashire.

It is also asking county MPs to work to “prevent the proposed cuts being implemented with the consequent drastic reduction of policing in our area.”

County Hall was the scene of heated debate as councillors considered County Coun David Whipp’s warnings about the effect of future cuts, particularly in rural areas.

He submitted a motion which said cutbacks would put residents “at greater risk of crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Coun Whipp’s call came after Steve Finnigan, Lancashire’s Chief Constable warned that predicted multi-million pound cuts would mean the service would not be viable after 2020.

However, Tory leader Coun Geoff Driver said: “Any pressure that should be put on the Government on behalf of Lancashire Constabulary should be based on fact not scare-mongering.”

Accusing the Chief Constable of “getting involved in the political debate,” he said: “We don’t know what the grant is going to be – it’s all up in the air at the present time.”

Liberal Democrat leader Coun. Bill Winlow said: “This is not a question of scaremongering it’s a question of defending our police force for the good of people here.”

Council leader Coun Jennifer Mein called for an all-party consensus, saying if the county’s MPs could act together, then surely so could councillors.

The key issue was the way funding was to be allocated.

She said: “It’s not the cuts it’s the formula which is costing Lancashire far more than anywhere else.

“Some authorities are gaining money from the change in formula. Lancashire is actually losing – this formula is faulty.”

More details of future funding are expected to be revealed in Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review at the end of November.