Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden Report
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden outlined his commitment to protect frontline policing as he presented his 2023/24 budget proposals at a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel yesterday, 1 February 2023.
Despite rising costs and pressures, his budget maintains investment in key areas and protects recent improvements, enabling Lancashire Constabulary to increase visible policing and invest in critical infrastructure to take the fight to criminals and keep Lancashire safe.
Thanks to local funding, Lancashire Constabulary is recruiting more than their 509 share of the Governments’ 20,000 new ‘uplift’ officers, with 612 in total recruited by the end of March 2023 and hitting Lancashire’s streets as they complete their training.
This huge investment will see these new officers joining the fight against crime – getting tough on anti-social behaviour and criminal gangs, cracking down on burglary and robbery, tackling sexual violence and domestic abuse, targeting dangerous drivers and issues that matter most to people.
The budget proposal includes a small rise in council tax precept, the equivalent of 29p a week for a band D property, or 19p a week for a Band A property, every penny of which the Commissioner has pledged to ensure frontline policing is protected to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
Mr Snowden said: “I have set the 2023/24 policing budget against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment with inflation and pay, utilities and fuel costs all rising. I know this is a difficult time for Lancashire residents and this is also reflected in financing our police service. However, in setting the budget, a multimillion-pound programme of efficiency savings will be delivered to protect frontline policing and reduce the potential burden on taxpayers.
“86% of residents who responded to my recent budget proposals survey would like to see Lancashire Constabulary receive more funding and my budget decision will allow Lancashire Constabulary to continue to deliver on your priorities, reinforce neighbourhood policing and dedicated rural taskforces to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour and continue the successes of the dedicated rape and serious sexual offences team.
“It will also fund operations targeting organised crime like, Op Warrior, which relentlessly disrupts and dismantles criminal gangs by seizing cash from criminals, arresting gang members and securing evidence to put them behind bars.
“With yours and the Government’s support, Lancashire Constabulary will soon have recruited 612 extra police officers since 2020. However, we are not yet feeling the full benefits of the investment, with lots of officers still in training and specialist new teams being established.
“This budget will also support critical investment in the force to ensure that Lancashire Police can stay one step ahead of criminals with investment in cyber capabilities, fleet and estate, an open station in every borough of Lancashire, major investment into critical police infrastructure and innovative technologies including drones, drug scanners and mobile devices.
“It will provide the Chief Constable with the resources necessary to build on the considerable progress in service delivery made since 2021 to deliver the strong local policing that residents have said they want and expect.”
Chief Constable Chris Rowley said, “I appreciate the support of the PCC, panel and the community in enabling the Constabulary to continue to prioritise the areas of policing that will make the most difference to our communities. Our aim is to keep the good people of Lancashire safe by tackling the issues that matter to them, continuing to target serious criminality and bringing offenders to justice. The extra investment will enable us to do just that.”
The budget was passed with cross-party support by the Police and Crime Panel, which is made up from Councillors representing each area of Lancashire along with independent members. A formal written decision will follow.
The budget for policing Lancashire in 2023-24 is £360m. This includes a 6.34% increase in the portion of the council tax that goes towards policing (the police precept). This is 32% of the overall police budget, with Government funding making up the remainder.