Officers from Lancashire Constabulary have now confirmed with me the changes they intend to make.
In Over Wyre, rather than having neighbourhood policing officers based out of Garstang until 10pm there will now be response officers based in Garstang 24 hours of the day. The Police service says this means officers will be able to attend Preesall, Pilling and Knott End quicker than officers being brought from Fleetwood and Lancaster if a 999 call is made after 10pm.
In Fleetwood, an additional ten response officers and five sergeants will be based in the town, bringing the sergeant to officer ratio down from the current one sergeant to seventeen officers – which had been the highest figure in the county.
All four of the Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s) are staying in Over Wyre. In addition there will be a separate dedicated team monitoring crime trends – if there is a spike in a particular area they will be deployed to investigate this rather than taking up the resources of the PCSO’s.
The way emergency calls are handled is also changing.
Currently any communications officer from anywhere in the county can respond to a 999 call and dispatch officers. The lack of local knowledge can sometimes be a problem. In future they will only respond to calls from their own division, and will mirror the shift patterns of officers, meaning the communications officers will build relationships with the investigating teams and will learn more about local issues.
Lancashire Constabulary say they will also make increasing use of TITAN, the North West Organised Crime Unit.
The police are battling to provide the service the public expects against a devastating and relentless programme of government cuts.
Since 2010 more than 21,000 police officers and 6,800 community support officers have been axed despite a promise by the Tories to protect the frontline. While officer numbers have fallen to their lowest level in 30 years, the police have also recorded the highest crime rises in a decade.
With some of the most serious and violent offences on the rise again this is the worst possible time to cut the police, but that is exactly what is the Tories plan to do with a further £100m real-terms cut in Government funding this year.