POLICING in Lancashire is set to be ‘annihilated’ and ‘lives will be put at risk’ if fresh £87 million Government spending cuts go ahead.

That’s the message from the county’s police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw who said he will use a two week consultation period to lobby the area’s 16 MPs to challenge the ‘savage’ cuts.

Across the county, neighbourhood policing teams would be scrapped, saving £34 million, all public enquiry desks would be closed, dedicated road policing teams would be disbanded, support units - which deal with violent offenders and carry out drug raids - would go, along with the mounted and dog units.

The force’s Major Investigation Unit would have to be reduced, meaning some rape and murder cases would have to be investigated by the region’s specialist crime unit Titan. The serious organised crime unit will also be cut, meaning fewer resources for the units which deal with sexual offenders.

The massive cuts, which would have to be made by 2020, would see Lancashire lose £24.5 million from changes to police funding formula grant, the biggest reduction to a force outside London, on top of a 40 per cent anticipated budget drop when the results of the Government’s Comprehensive Review are announced next month.

That would mean an overall budget reduction of £161 million since 2010, with Lancashire’s Chief Constable Steve Finnigan revealing that the force would turn into a ‘reactive service’.

Mr Finnigan, who conceded that police presence in rural areas would be virtually non-existent, said the force would still have to find a further £32 million savings, or around 650 police officers.

He said: “It isn’t scaremongering. If these cuts were to be delivered on this scale, we would not be viable as a police force as we see it today by 2020. What breaks my heart is, we have a very clear purpose and mission here which is to keep people safe, keep people safe from harm, particularly the most vulnerable, and that would absolutely be in jeopardy.

“I have no doubt lots more people would be at risk and harmed because of the sheer cuts we are describing to you.

“The purely reactive service remaining would be rationed to deal only with emergency and priority calls for service.”

The cuts would see police officers slashed from 3,611 in 2010 to 1,699 in 2020, a reduction of 1,912 officers and support staff cut by 1,245.

Mr Grunshaw has described the cuts as wholly unfair and said he believed Lancashire was being targeted despite being rated as outstandings.

And Mr Grunshaw, who has criticised the Government for not sharing the formula it used to calculate the new PFF because it is commercially sensitive, said if the Home Office does not ease the burden it is placing on the county then he will consider a legal challenge in the form of a judicial review.