On the 9 February 2016 I posted an open letter to Mr Clive Grunshaw, Lancs Police & Crime Commissioner, on the subject of disproportionate increases in the Police element of our Council Tax in Whittington. The Commissioner has emailed me with an extensive response, which I post here. There is a full PDF version, with charts at this link. police_and-crime_commission_response
Re: Disproportionate increase in the cost of Policing
Thank you for your email of 9 February 2016 in respect of the service you receive from the police in your neighbourhood and the increase in the council tax charge over the last five years.
The overall budget position
As I am sure you are aware the Policing Service as a whole has faced an unprecedented challenge over that period due to the cuts made in the funding provided by central government.
Clearly Lancashire has been significantly affected by these cuts and since 2010/11 the level of resources from government available for policing in Lancashire has reduced by £37.3m (19%) in 2016/17.
It is forecast that by 2019/20 a further £11.3m will be cut from government funding giving a forecast total reduction from 2010/11 to 2019/20 of £48.6m (26.3%).
In addition, from 2010/11 to 2016/17 we have faced increases in expenditure of £37.2m as a
result of increased costs of pay, inflation and increases in the demand placed upon the force. It is forecast that by 2019/20 a further £8.6m of such cost pressures will need to be met from the policing budget which gives a total pressure of £45.8m from 2010/11 to 2019/20.
To mitigate these pressures a total of £75.2m of savings have already been delivered which leaves a further £16.6m of savings still being required to balance the budget to 2019/20.
However, as you can see this offsets only a small proportion of the reduction we have faced in government funding of £37.3m and is an even smaller proportion of the total pressure I have faced on the budget of £74.5m once increased costs are taken ion to account.
I can understand that you feel that you have had to pay more for what you see as being less of a service but I can reassure you that I remain committed to maintain the frontline service to the people of Lancashire as much as I can despite the financial issues I have detailed above.
There are 150 officers in detective roles in the division investigating and detecting crimes.
There are 54 officers in the Operations department covering roles such as support unit, road policing and dogs.
180 officers have Neighbourhood policing (NHP) roles breakdown being 64 NHP police officers and 116 PCSOs with an additional 25 police officers being dedicated to Early Action and Offender management work.
There are 22 officers in support and management roles.
There are still resources based at Headquarters in Hutton who offer support across the division when required such as Armed Response, Mounted Officers and specialist detective support.
In relation to Whittington, the service is managed as part of the Lancaster and Morecambe locality where there are currently 90 response officers based. In addition there are 23 Neighbourhood Policing officers plus 21 PCSOs to cover the area.
A dedicated PCSO manages the day to day contact with the local community and of course any emergency calls will be attended immediately by the response teams working from Lancaster and Morecambe. Any non-urgent calls or neighbourhood issues will be dealt with by the NHP team.
I understand that you have seen a reduced presence at certain community engagement activities but given the significant reduction in resources we have faced the overriding view I receive from the public is that they prioritise the dealing with emergency calls and incidents above such contact.
We do still provide as much engagement as we can with our communities and have increased significantly our use of technology and social media to assist with this, however, we have to put as much of our resources as we can into the delivery of our frontline services to keep the public of Lancashire safe.
I hope this information proves to be of assistance.
Police & Crime Commissioner for Lancashire