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Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner calls for an extra £15 million of central government cash to make force sustainable





The county’s police and crime commissioner says an extra £15 million a year in central government funding is necessary to ensure Lincolnshire Police is sustainable.

Marc Jones, who was re-elected for his third term in the role of Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner May, has repeatedly highlighted how the force is one of the worst funded in the country per resident.

With a General Election taking place on Thursday, Mr Jones called on both of the two leading parties — Labour and Conservatives — to update the police funding formula, regardless of who forms the next government on July 5.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones

“Don’t give us what you want, give us what we need, which is money for us to spend as we need to deliver the service,” he said.

“Overly tight restrictions mean inevitably we don’t get what we need, we get what you want us to have. Be sensible, give us a proper budget that can allow us to deliver what we need to police the county properly.

“The funding formula is absolutely paramount to that. It’s been clear for a number of years that the formula is broken; the data hasn’t been updated for over a decade, so the population has changed massively in ten years.

“I would urge both parties to get on and deliver the formula that’s already been worked up. It’s academically robust — all they have to do is consult on it and put it in place for next year.”

Mr Jones has previously threatened legal action against the Home Office to introduce a new funding formula for police forces in England and Wales.

He argues that the current funding formula uses old population statistics from 2013 and outdated metrics like pubs per square mile.

“It’s been a constant theme of Lincolnshire Police that when we’re putting together the medium-term financial plans, there is usually an element of the budget that we have to fill with spending reserves, and that continues to be the case,” PCC Jones explained following a police and crime panel meeting at Lincolnshire County Council on Friday.

“At the moment, we are filling the gap in reserves by around £7.5 million, but what we do tend to be very successful at is bidding for additional funding yearly, which quite often means we don’t have to spend most of the reserves that we expected we might, so the reserves are still available to fill a gap later on.”

He continued: “The only other way I can fill that gap is by reducing the service, and obviously we’ve not needed to do that. We continue to battle to maintain the service we’ve got.”

He also highlighted how recent government policies, such as a 7% pay increase and increasing employer contributions to pensions, have created an estimated £4 million gap in his base budget.

“It’s great that they do them, but we do need to make sure these things are fully funded when they do, because when they don’t, it just means we have to have fewer people,” he said.

When asked exactly how much more Lincolnshire Police would need for its budget, Mr Jones estimated that between £10 million to £15 million would be beneficial.

He believes an additional £10 million would help them “deal with the worst of the issues” they’re facing, while an additional £15 million would make the force sustainable. Any amount over £15 million would allow them to increase the service they provide.

He added: “Believe me, we could spend as much as they could provide us with, but nevertheless, at the moment we have 155 officers per hundred thousand population, against 191 in the average.

“If they brought us up to the average, that would be great – that would give us an extra 300-400 people to police the county. That would be where I would want to be. But, I’m realistic.

“If they were to give us £10 million – £15 million per year, which sounds a lot, but it’s about the equivalent to what it costs to police the Notting Hill Carnival every year for one weekend, we would be able to be a sustainable force, delivering the things we need to keep the public safe.”



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