Lancashire Police to cut more jobs to save £73m

Hundreds more police and support staff jobs are to go in Lancashire as the force tries to meet its government savings target.

A further 165 police officers and 275 support staff are to go in an attempt to save £73m over the next four years.

The force has already axed about 500 officers, which resulted in savings of about £60m.

Analysis

This was the Chief Constable warning us of the tough times ahead.

I suppose he was lowering expectations, trying to put things in perspective so we can get used to what is bound to be a lesser service.

Neither the Chief nor the PCC Clive Grunshaw criticised the government but Mr Finnigan told me he had spoken to the Home Secretary Theresa May and told her of his concerns but as one would expect he wasn't going to be handed any money.

How things have changed - in the past both Labour and Conservative governments have been keen to back the police. Those days are gone.

The message now to Mr Finnigan and other Chief Constables is "you are on your own" but if the crime figures do go up who will carry the can?

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said the cuts were "too quick and too deep" but "the business will not be broken".

He said: "To find this money we have had to take very difficult decisions.

'Minimise impact'

"What has been really important throughout this review is that we minimise the impact on frontline and visible policing but with nearly 700 police officers fewer, we cannot leave those areas untouched.

"We are facing our greatest challenge and most radical changes in over 30 years."

Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Clive Grunshaw, said: "I want to reassure the people in Lancashire that to keep them safe, especially those who are most vulnerable, remains our utmost priority."

Mr Finnigan's scheme to restructure the force is planned to be implemented by April next year and includes losing senior staff members and reducing the number of regional divisions from six to three.

Steve Rothwell, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: "We acknowledge that the police should take its fair share of spending reductions, but this is far from fair and the public are going to be at risk."

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