Lancashire police cuts may mean ‘no pro-active rural policing’

Crime: Police patrols could be a thing of the past in rural Lancashire, officers warn
Crime: Police patrols could be a thing of the past in rural Lancashire, officers warn
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Police cuts across Lancashire will lead to no proactive policing in rural areas, frontline officers have revealed.

Officers in Garstang said on their Facebook: “We are trying to do our best as a local team but we are noticing the impact of the cuts ourselves as well.

“The unfortunate thing, is that the next round of cost cutting is likely to see the removal of pretty much any pro-active policing. What it means in real terms is that we’ll be responding to requests for assistance where possible but will not have the numbers available for trying to disrupt criminals before they commit crime.

“Difficult times for policing and hugely disappointing from our point of view.

“We’ll always try to do our best, but I genuinely think the cuts are only just starting to be felt and its likely to get, and feel worse going forward.”

The county’s Police Federation said last December that a further £3.2 million is to be cut from the police budget as the government had announced plans for a 5 per cent reduction to budgets across all police forces in England and Wales.

Longridge’s mayor Chris Parkinson said there appears to be a “regular annual reduction in the level of service that is being provided by the police and there has to come a point when there is going to be negative outcomes in terms of increased crime”.

Lancashire Police Federation says that it fears for the safety of the public if Lancashire Constabulary is forced to take further cuts. In 2009 Lancashire had 3,650 police officers; this figure is predicted to fall to 2,400 by 2021, meaning a loss of 1,250 officers.

Federation chiefs have launched a county wide campaign to oppose the level of the cuts insisting they are too deep, a statement which County Councillor for Garstang Sandra Perkins agrees with.

She said: “How on earth are officers expected to honour their allegiance to the Queen and country is beyond me.

“They are trying their best but Garstang and Over Wyre police have a 200 square mile area to cover, it is utterly unacceptable.

“We need men and women on the ground, not people sat behind desks, the police are now reactive, not pro active.

“We are an open door for criminals. It is ludicrous.”

Rachel Baines of the Lancashire Police Federation said: “If anyone tries to assure the public that losing over 1,250 police officers is not going to have an effect on frontline policing then they are deluded.

“People are going to see a vast reduction in the visible presence of police on the streets, that will mean fewer officers to respond to incidents and also a big reduction in neighbourhood policing.

“There will have to be a reduction in the level of service we can offer, some incidents will simply not be responded to. This is not what the public of Lancashire deserve.”

A spokesperson from Lancashire Constabulary said: “With regards to policing management – it isn’t a straightforward operation. Immediate response officers for Garstang come from Lancaster, and the Neighbourhood Police Team sit at Fleetwood...additional resources are deployed as and when needed.”