Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, has responded to yesterday’s publication of the Force Management Statement in which Chief Constable Bill Skelly warned of the ‘tough choices ahead’ if more Government funding is not provided.
In a statement, Mr Jones said: “The release this week of the Force Management Statement has put into stark language the funding challenges facing Lincolnshire Police. But this is not new information.
“In January 2017, I announced I was using £4m from reserves to prop up the budget.
“In a statement, released to the press and published on my website, I warned that, unless Lincolnshire receives a fairer allocation of central funds in the future, services in the county were under threat.
“In January this year, I issued a statement widely covered by the press and posted on my own website that, once again, warned of the dangers ahead.
“In the current financial year I committed £5.3m from reserves in order to maintain service levels and said at the time that we ‘face some tough challenges in the years ahead and if we cannot find solutions it’s hard to see how we can maintain service levels’.
“I also made it clear the reserves were now exhausted. In essence the force’s budget has been ‘propped up’ with millions of pounds from reserves on top of the council tax and Government grant. That is no longer possible.
“Both myself and our local MPs have lobbied hard to make the Treasury and Home Office recognize the difficulties facing Lincolnshire as a result of an outdated and flawed funding formula.
“I will not give up on that fight. I will continue to work tirelessly for the people I represent to get them the fairer deal they need and deserve.
“In the meantime, I have made it an absolute priority of my administration to find new, modern and innovative ways of ensuring that the money we do have is spent in the most effective and efficient way possible.
“Drones, the latest in mobile technology, online gun licensing, and many other projects are revolutionising the way we provide services for the public.
“That search for smarter ways to spend our money and deploy our resources will not stop and I will, as always, expect the Chief Constable to examine all options for delivering efficiencies we can protect front line services as best as we can.”