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Fears over response times when East Lancashire police divisions merge
THE Police Federation has expressed concerns over response times after Lancashire Constabulary confirmed it would be halving the number of territorial divisions.
Rachel Baines, from the authority, said that although she agreed the measure was a ‘step in the right direction’ to making the £73.5million in savings needed by the force by 2017/18, she was concerned that officer response times could be lengthened if there were fewer bases.
Lancashire Police said resources were being ‘realigned’ to make efficiencies.
The changes will mean Pennine Division, which covers Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale, and Eastern Division, which covers Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley, will be joined together.
Ms Baines said: “Our view is that anything we can do to save officer numbers has to be a step in the right direction.
“But officers will be travelling longer distances to get to incidents.
“The detail is yet to be worked out, but we need to make sure that the implementation of these mergers is done right and that officers and the public are not put at risk by the changes.”
A police spokesman said the specialist crime division was being reviewed and that resources were being moved from specialist operations to local policing areas.
He said: “As well as these changes to our structure we are continuing to look at how we can reduce waste, duplication and demand in order to create capacity to continue to deliver vital policing services to the communities in Lancashire in the future.
“As a result of the government’s austerity measures, Lancashire Constabulary has to make savings currently totalling £73.5million by 2017/18. In order to make these savings, a more transformational approach has been adopted which will see us move from six territorial police divisions to three by April 1, 2014.”
Police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw said he believed the new structure would ensure the best use of resources.
He said: “This was not an easy decision to take, but difficult decisions have got to be made if we are to make the savings demanded of the force by the present coalition government.”
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