Lincolnshire Police to address £3.4million gap in budget by reducing PCSOs

Lincolnshire Police’s Chief Constable has outlined how the force plans to address the gap of £3.4million in its budget – including reducing the number of PCSOs by almost half.

Lincolnshire Police.
Lincolnshire Police.
Lincolnshire Police.

Having recently received news of Lincolnshire Police’s funding settlement, Chief Constable Chris Haward has outlined the force’s expected financial pressures in coming years, and has claimed that Lincolnshire has the lowest funded force in the UK.

The force’s budget for the current year had an underlying gap of £3.4m, balanced by using reserves, and this underlying gap grows to around £10m for the next three years due to inflationary and service pressures.

Lincolnshire Police had already planned to make recurrent savings of £3m per annum to bridge the gap, but the situation has now become more challenging, and while the force plans to use its reserves in the next two years, further savings must be identified to close the gap.

Chief Constable Chris Haward has said it is “unavoidable that some front-line services will be affected” and the force will have to reduce PCSO numbers.

He said: "The budget settlement we have just received has been far more negative than anticipated and having spent recent weeks collectively and urgently working through the implications, it is clear that the use of our reserves isn’t enough to close the gap we face."We remain the lowest funded force in the UK with the lowest officers and staff per head of population.

"While this is not something I want to do, we will have to reduce our PCSO numbers from 91 to 50 and reconfigure the operating model to ensure we still have an effective response prioritising neighbourhoods at highest risk of threat and harm.

"We know how important neighbourhood policing is, which is why we plan to retain as many of our PCSOs as possible, but know this change will cause concern to some people."PCSOs will continue to support community policing alongside regular officers who remain dedicated to their respective neighbourhoods.

“Thanks to in-depth analysis that concluded recently, in which we examined every single area of the organisation, we have never before had a better understanding of our people, our demand, where we need investment, and where we can start to look at making changes.”

Chief Constable Haward added that the decision had only been made recently after being left with “no other option”, and that despite the challenges they face, Lincolnshire Police’s teams do an “incredible job” to make sure Lincolnshire is a safe place for everyone:

"We do everything we can to deploy our people where they are most needed based on threat, risk, and harm to the public."Please bear with us and when we can tell you more, we will make sure to get that information over to you.”