Lancashire has been snubbed, says the county's crime commissioner, after the Government announced a funding boost for the nation's police forces.
Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said he is 'disappointed' at the 'grossly unfair' allocation of funding for Lancashire Constabulary compared to other police forces.
The Commissioner hit back at the Government after the number of new recruits for each of the 43 forces in England and Wales was revealed this morning (October 9).
The Government has pledged to hire 20,000 new officers across England and Wales over the next three years.
In the first wave of the roll-out, the Home Office said it will provide £750 million to support the 43 forces to recruit up to 6,000 new officers by the end of 2020-21.
Lancashire's share of the allocated funding will see its police force benefit from the recruitment of 153 extra officers over the next 12 months.
But this falls far short of Lancashire's needs, says the Commissioner, who wrote to the Home Office last month demanding at least 340 extra officers as part of the government’s pledge to boost policing numbers.
Last month, he told a meeting of the Lancashire police and crime panel that the request was ambitious, but “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.
But even before the numbers were announced this morning, Commissioner Grunshaw expressed his “massive concern” that the way in which the additional officer numbers may be allocated could leave Lancashire shortchanged.
"The indication from government is that they are going to base the decision on the size of a force’s budget,” Mr. Grunshaw explained.
"We feel that it would be far better if they allocated the new resources on the basis of where they have been taken from. So if they are saying there are 20,000 new officers available, we say we want 750."
Responding to the funding allocation for police forces today, the Commissioner Grunshaw said his concerns were well justified.
He is again demanding that Government give back Lancashire the 750 police officers lost since 2010, as new figures released by the Home Office this morning indicate Lancashire Constabulary will still have almost 250 fewer officers than in 2010 – despite a pledge to 'boost' its force with 153 new recruits.
"I had asked the Home Office to match our ambition in Lancashire and to replace the 750 officers lost since 2010 and I'm disappointed with today's announcement which falls well short of this ambition", said Commissioner Grunshaw.
"It fails to recognise the reason that additional officers are needed – the years of funding reductions from Westminster which have impacted Lancashire more than most.
"We requested 340 officers in this allocation to allow us to properly invest back into the policing in Lancashire, making a strong case around the fairest way to allocate funding by putting officers back where they have been lost and are needed most.
"However forces like Lancashire have been snubbed by the Government whilst more affluent areas such as Surrey, who have lost only 8 officers since 2010 due to their ability to raise almost double what we have through the council tax precept, have been gifted 70 officers in this first allocation - more than when austerity in policing began.
"Whilst I welcome the ability to put much needed additional officers back onto our streets, after almost a decade of cuts which meant we have needed to save over £84m, and the impact this had on the service that we can deliver, this announcement does not go far enough to repair the damage that has been done to our policing service.
"There are also suggestions that the remaining share of the 20,000 police officers beyond March 2021 could be shared between Counter Terrorism and Serious and Organised crime meaning even less for Lancashire.
"Together with MPs, I will continue standing up for Lancashire and demand that the government give us our Bobbies back. I'm also calling for a fair and sustainable funding settlement from central government that takes into account the unique circumstances faced by policing here in Lancashire."
Even if the same allocation of new recruits is made in the next two years, this would still leave Lancashire with hundreds of officers less than it had in 2010.
But the pledge to boost the numbers of police officers in Lancashire has been welcomed by some of the Constabulary's senior ranking officers.
DCC Terry Woods said: "The announcement is welcome news as these 153 come on top of the officers we have already planned to recruit.
"Planning is already underway for how those extra officers will be allocated.
"This the start of providing a much needed boost to giving us the resources we need to help us keep our communities safe."