Police promise to enforce Boston’s street drink rules despite cuts

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and Alan Hardwick. 255D ENGEMN00120130815135604 ENGEMN00120130815135604
Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and Alan Hardwick. 255D ENGEMN00120130815135604 ENGEMN00120130815135604

Police bosses have vowed they will have the manpower to enforce Boston’s new street drinking ban, despite another big cut to funding.

The Government hit Lincolnshire Police with another £3m cut to its funding this month, despite pleas from the Chief Constable to spare the force from a reduction.

Boston borough councillors have this month agreed to pass a ban on street drinking from January 12 next year.

Earlier this month we reported how some councillors are worried that police cuts will stop the ban from being enforced.

Insp Jim Manning, of Boston Police, said: “Whilst there is uncertainty in the longer-term about the impact budget cuts may have on the force, Boston continues to benefit from effective, quality policing and our commitment to enforcing the drinking ban is resolute.”

Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has pledged there will be no cuts in frontline officers next year despite the cut in funding.

However, Mr Hardwick admitted council taxpayers could be left to foot the bill for plugging the deficit.

He dismissed speculation the number of officers would be reduced to balance the books but warned that may have to happen in 2016 if further cuts come.

The Government grant for policing across the county was expected to be £62.2 million but the figure announced last week was £59 million.

Mr Hardwick said: “We were preparing for the worst case scenario but this is more than we expected. It makes it more difficult to maintain the current level of service.

“The thin blue line is getting thinner but I am very hopeful that there will not be any cuts next year.

“But I cannot make a longer-term commitment. There are no guarantees at all.

“Obviously, if we had to lose 200-plus officers (in future) then that would have an affect on the service we provide.”

Mr Hardwick described an increase in council tax bills as ‘unfortunate but necessary’.

He added: “We are being penalised because we are a successful force.

“We have been praised by the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and HM’s Inspector. You can’t get higher praise than that.

“We have made cuts and we have shown that we can still be a very effective and efficient force.

“Other forces haven’t got out of the starting blocks yet in terms of making cuts. That’s why we are being penalised for being successful.

“We need a level playing field in terms of funding. That is simply not happening. It is grossly unfair.”

Mr Hardwick revealed Home Secretary Theresa May had promised to visit Lincolnshire in the New Year to discuss funding.

Both he and Chief Constable Neil Rhodes have written to the Government, warning further cuts could make policing the county ‘unsustainable’.

It is understood council tax bills could rise around £4 next year to pay for policing, it is understood. However, there could be also increases in portions paid to the county council and parish councils.