Warning over ‘perverse’ cuts following terror attacks

Candlelit vigil for Paris
Candlelit vigil for Paris
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The Chancellor has today been urged to think twice about planned cuts to the police budget in Lancashire in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris.

Fresh warnings over the danger of the Government’s austerity measures come as George Osborne prepares to announce the outcome of his comprehensive spending review on Wednesday.

The Home Office, which funds police forces, has been told to prepare for cuts of between 25 and 40 per cent.

Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said: “In light of the recent terror attack, it seems perverse to be cutting police budgets.”

She said officers on the ground are “absolutely vital” in the fight against terrorism.

Lancashire Police has lost more than 700 officers since 2010, with hundreds more predicted to go in the next five years. Ms Baines warned losing more experienced officers will have a damaging effect. She added: “Once the police are gone, they are gone.

“The Government seems to have got itself in a really entrenched position around police cuts – it needs to listen to what everybody is saying.”

Her comments follow reports a leaked document warned Home Secretary Theresa May that the expected level of cuts would ‘significantly’ affect the UK’s ability to respond to a Paris-style attack.

And it comes after HM Inspectorate of Constabulary published a report showing Lancashire Police has seen its budget fall faster than most in recent years. The Value for Money report showed comparable forces have, on average, £8m a year more to spend.

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, who called for police cuts to be put on hold, said the report shows the force provides ‘an excellent service at great value for money’.