Lincolnshire Police 'committed to good service'
Lincolnshire Police has said it is committed to delivering a good service despite a report stating funding cuts may cause it to struggle in the future.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary said Lincolnshire might not provide a "sufficiently efficient or effective service" by 2015 when cuts take effect.
The force was highlighted "due to a combination of factors", an HMIC spokeswoman said.
Lincolnshire Police needs to save £21m over the next four years.
In a joint statement, the force and police authority said: "Lincolnshire is a force and a police authority committed to a modernising agenda that will continue to deliver excellent public service and good value for taxpayers' money.
"Lincolnshire Police is a forward-looking and progressive organisation.
"It is the most cost-effective in the country, has embraced a modernising agenda and delivers good performance."'Austerity crimes'
Twelve indicators, such as changes in the number of officers year-on-year, use of financial reserves used to meet savings targets and crime levels, were used by the HMIC for its report.
In Lincolnshire, crime rose by 3% between December 2010 and 2011, bucking the national trend of a 3% reduction.
The force's statement said: "At the end of December 2011, the county suffered a spate of metal thefts and austerity crimes that led to an overall crime increase.
"Aggressive police action, coupled with across-the-board performance improvements has seen a very different picture this year with a 14.8% reduction in crime."
The statement added that, although staff numbers had decreased by 51% - primarily due to the outsourcing of some non-frontline services to private provider G4S, police officer numbers in the county had fallen from 1,208 to 1,114 since the programme of cuts began.
The statement said: "We can tell the public that, of the 1,114 officers we currently have, only 23, including the chief constable and deputy chief constable, do not have a significant crime fighting component to their work.Officers 'demoralised'
"In all cases their roles require police knowledge, if not warranted powers - but we keep this under review.
"There is simply no pool of officers spending their time at HQ who could be better employed on the streets."
Stuart Hamilton, chairman of Lincolnshire Police Federation, said morale was currently very low among his colleagues.
He said: "At the moment, police officers in Lincolnshire are working absolutely flat out whilst at the same time having their pay, their conditions and pensions absolutely stripped apart."
The HMIC report also stated there were concerns about the Metropolitan and Devon and Cornwall forces.
Official Home Office figures released in January showed the number of police officers in England and Wales had fallen to its lowest level for a decade.
There were 135,838 police officers in September 2011 - 6,012 (4.2%) fewer than the 141,850 of a year earlier.