I share concerns in Over Wyre at reports of the Police Community Support Officers being removed from the area due to police budgets being slashed. I have a meeting with Lancashire Constabulary Senior Management team next week to clarify the situation.
I’ve also met with Clive Grunshaw, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, who has explained that Lancashire Constabulary are facing severe financial constraints. The police have been forced to commit a large amount of resources to the fracking site at Preston New Road, costing around £7 million. The Commissioner has asked for these costs to be met in full by the Home Office but they have refused. Lancashire County Council voted against fracking in the County, and public opinion has been steadfastly opposed to fracking. It’s unfair that the people of Lancashire are expected to pay for the cost of the operation at Preston New Road when core policing services are already facing impossible strain.
In addition the Commissioner revealed how mental health issues are also putting great pressure on police resources. He explained that on many occasions police officers are having to stay with vulnerable people for days at a time as there are no mental health beds available – preventing the police from carrying out duties elsewhere.
Clive Grunshaw has also informed me that The Harbour, a relatively new mental health unit in Lancashire, is unable to operate at full capacity due to a shortage of staff, which has contributed to the pressures on the police.
The impact of this Government’s austerity measures are now being felt across all public services with the most vulnerable in our society being hit the hardest.
I’ll update everyone once I’ve spoken to Lancashire Constabulary Senior Management team next week.