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Tax payers left to cover Government funding cuts for Lincolnshire Police

Government funding for Lincolnshire Police has dropped in recent years, leaving local taxpayers to pick up the bill.

Figures from the Home Office show that Lincolnshire Police’s Government funding dropped by two per cent between their budgets for the 2015-16 and 2018-19 financial years.

Latest police crime figures.

Latest police crime figures.

The decrease was even larger in real terms, when inflation is taken into account.

Over the same period, the amount of funding received through council tax – the other main source of revenue for the force – increased by 16 per cent.

In Lincolnshire in 2018-19, £65 million of funding came from the Government, and £49 million from the council tax precept.

Calum Macleod, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said that the restriction in Government funding had led directly to reduced services and large pay cuts.

He said: “Policing has taken a huge financial hit from this Government – cutbacks that have seen many forces cut the services they can offer to the public and the near decimation of neighbourhood policing.

“Police officers put themselves in harm’s way day in, day out, and yet the only investment they get from Government is nice words and photo opportunities.

“The reality is that police officers have seen a pay cut of 15 per cent in real terms since 2010.”

The picture was reflected across the country, with every force except the City of London seeing a decrease in Government funding.

Meanwhile, money raised through council tax for police forces increased by an average of 17 per cent.

A spokesman for the Home Office said that raising funds through council taxes allowed Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) the opportunity to control their own revenue.

He said: “We responded to calls from PCCs for greater flexibility to increase council tax precepts, and the vast majority of PCCs used this flexibility in 2018-19 in order to protect or improve frontline policing.

“The Home Secretary has committed to making police funding a priority at the next spending review, which will set budgets for the longer term.”

While forces do have other revenue streams, including money received for policing major events such as football matches and concerts, the majority of their income is from the Government or council tax.

The figures show that council tax accounts for a much higher portion of police funding in some parts of the country.

In Lincolnshire, council tax precept is equivalent to 76 per cent of funding from the Government - higher than the England and Wales average of 47 per cent.

There are three police forces - Dyfed-Powys, North Wales and Surrey - for which council tax funding is higher than that received from the Government.