Lancashire Police 'not viable' after 2020, Chief Constable warns

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan
Image caption Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said further budget cuts could potentially see Lancashire Police becoming an "emergency only" service

Lancashire Police will "not be viable" after 2020 because of cuts to funding, the chief constable has warned.

Steve Finnigan said the county faced the harshest budget cuts in England, which could potentially see the force becoming a "blue light" service, responding to emergencies only.

Mounted and dog sections along with road policing units could be lost and community policing cut.

Since 2010, the force has axed about 700 officers and 275 members of staff.

Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said "savage" budget cuts would have a "devastating impact" on policing.

Clive Grunshaw said communities would be "left at risk" as the government continued to implement austerity cuts.

Details of the force's cuts will be revealed after the government's Comprehensive Spending Review at the end of November.

But Mr Grunshaw said proposed changes to the way forces are awarded grant funding means Lancashire will have to cut a further £24.8m on top of £74m already saved.

He said: "The likely outcome for Lancashire is far worse than we had expected.

"While the full implications are not yet clear there is no doubt that these savage cuts, which come on top of the already significant savings which have had to be made, will have a devastating impact on the standards of policing which the Constabulary is able to deliver and which our communities have come to expect."

The Home Office is yet to comment.

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