THE news that Lancashire police are set to recruit officers externally for the first time in five years is a positive step.

It is certainly welcome that new officers will soon be on the beat protecting the residents of East Lancashire.

But what is deeply worrying is that this new intake will make no impact at all on increasing officer numbers because of the amount being lost through natural wastage.

Because of retirements or officers simply deciding to quit, it is expected the number overall will actually fall by 700 by 2017.

Thankfully, at present, crime across the county is at an all-time low.

But what is concerning is how this level of performance can be maintained when more and more officers are not being replaced.

The hands of the police are tied on this issue. They have been made to make deep cuts because of a reduction in funding from the Government.

The scale of these so called ‘savings’, however, really needs to be looked at.

After all, it is in all our interests that we have the best police force possible.