For the first time since 2010, there has been investment in Lancashire's police force after it was announced that a council tax increase has been used to pay for a new dedicated task force of police officers.
Tasked with tackling the issues which matter to local communities the most, the new force is being rolled out across the county this month and will consist of proactive teams of four or five officers spread across nine different areas. They will be responsible for tackling local priorities including drug-dealing, anti-social behaviour, and burglary, alongside disrupting organised crime and targeting outstanding offenders.
“The Government’s funding announcement at the end of last year made it clear that the only way to raise funds to put extra officers on our streets, which the people of Lancashire consistently tell me is what they want to see, was to fully utilise the council tax flexibility given to Police and Crime Commissioners," said Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw.
“This was the only option provided by Government to protect and bolster policing here in Lancashire and not using it would have meant a further cut to the budget and 125 fewer police officers," he added. “Thanks to support from the public, I'm pleased to say that for the first time since 2010 investment is being made into policing here in Lancashire with additional officers going into every district, focusing on reducing and preventing crime and dealing with the issues that matter most to people."
Specialist target teams are also being strengthened to tackle cross border crime and criminality, focusing on burglary and robbery, and there has been an uplift in detectives following public feedback to prioritise investigations around major crimes, child exploitation, and domestic abuse.
A new drone team is also operational across the force, with two drones paid for by the proceeds of crime, and a team of four officers funded by the council tax precept. This new technology has been invaluable supporting policing operations including events, missing people and warrants.
"This is about reconnecting with our communities across Lancashire and getting back to proactive policing and dealing with community concerns," Mr Grunshaw continued. "I really hope this is just the start of investment back into policing here in Lancashire and I continue to lobby Government to demand we get back our fair share of police officers that we have lost during austerity."
Ch Supt Sam Mackenzie of Lancashire Constabulary, commented: “The introduction of these officers is great news and puts extra officers into our communities. The roll out of the Neighbourhood Policing task force will help us to continue tackling key crime hotspots and allow us to be more proactive in preventing the crimes that concern us all the most.
“I expect their impact to be significant in every corner of the county," the chief superintendent added. “I believe these officers will make a real difference in our community and look forward to seeing the effects they have.”