Lancashire crime victims 'may not be seen'

Steve Finnigan Mr Finnigan said there has already been an impact on police services as cuts "begin to bite"

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The chief constable of Lancashire has admitted budget cuts of £43m are hitting policing in the county.

Steve Finnigan said new policing arrangements had been put in place to cut costs and the changes would make it hard to reduce crime.

He said in some cases officers would not be sent out to reports of crime.

Since April 2009, Lancashire Police has lost more than 600 police and office staff from its 6,000-strong workforce and must lose 200 more posts.

Mr Finnigan said there was "a lot of apprehension" and "a lot of uncertainty" amongst staff.

"Part of my job is to try and give them some of that certainty," he said.

"I'm trying to update them on where we are and how we're navigating our way through the next few years."

'Degree of realism'

He said there had already been an impact on police services as cuts "begin to bite".

Police have introduced a new telephone system, where they take calls from the public to see if it is actually necessary to deploy an officer.

"If someone is absolutely insistent that they need to see an officer, they'll see an officer," said Mr Finnigan.

"But for quite a few of the crimes that are reported to us if we don't think that we're going to lose any evidence or we're not going to lose a criminal who's still at the scene, then it might be that we negotiate either a delay or no deployment at all."

Mr Finnigan said the changes will make it hard to keep crime rates down, but he does "still expect that we will work really hard to reduce crime and that's got to be where our effort goes".

"There are some little spikes in crime that we're trying to do our utmost to turn in the other direction, but I do think we've got to have a degree of realism and I want to be clear with my staff that we do appreciate that there's an impact and we've just got to do our best," he added.

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