Glowing report proves cuts are ‘unacceptable’

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan and Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw
Chief Constable Steve Finnigan and Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw

Lancashire’s top cop today warned a new report rating the force as “outstanding” is no excuse to cut more money from the budget.

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan hailed the findings of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), after Lancashire Police was given the top rating.

But he said the report backs up his recent warnings over looming budget cuts.

As reported by The Gazette earlier this month, fresh cuts threaten to wipe up to £87m from the balance sheet.

Ch Con Finnigan said: “I’m absolutely delighted and very proud that we are in the top five forces in the country.

“But it makes it all the more galling that we are facing some pretty catastrophic cuts.”

The report shows the force will lose another nine per cent of its police officers by 2018, well above the national average of six per cent.

The cost per head of population of a Lancashire police officer is £104. The average cost is £115.

Ch Con Finnigan said the report’s focus on the force’s value for money is proof it “has not been over-funded”.

He added: “It is simply unacceptable that much of the good work which is highlighted in today’s report will be put at risk if the proposed cuts to our budget go ahead.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw praised the force following the publication of today’s report.

He said: “This is another reason why the government should take notice of what we are saying about the future cuts. We have delivered and delivered what we have been asked for but we can’t keep taking out such huge amounts and keep the force effective and viable.”

HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said: “Lancashire Constabulary is exceptionally well prepared to face its future financial requirements. Careful management of budgets and a considered approach to strategic change has allowed the constabulary to meet the savings required from austerity and to invest in technology.”