Huge cuts to frontline police in Lancashire risk undermining the Government’s £1.9bn pledge to fight cyber crime, it has today been warned.
George Osborne unveiled plans on Tuesday to double the UK’s spending on tackling online crime as he warned terrorists want to use the internet for “hideous” purposes.
His speech, which he used to pay tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks at the weekend, followed the announcement of plans to recruit 1,900 security and intelligence officers at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
But Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, said some of the money should be invested on the front line.
He added: “While it is good to see the Chancellor recognising how important it is to put resources into fighting terrorism this must not come at the expense of policing our towns and cities.
“Recent convictions in Lancashire were brought about directly as a result of intelligence gathered by neighbourhood policing teams, but the Government seems intent on destroying local teams with its savage cuts.”
Police chiefs have been warned to expect cuts of 25 to 40 per cent when the Chancellor announces the outcome of his spending review next week.
Lancashire’s top cop has warned plans to cut millions from the force’s budget could signal the end of neighbourhood policing.
Controversial changes to the way funding is split between forces have been put on hold but fresh cuts to be announced next week still threaten to wipe at least £45m from the balance sheet.
Scrapping neighbourhood police would save the force £34m – but bosses say the intelligence those officers pick up while out on the beat is vital.
Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said: “The shame of that is everything starts and ends in neighbourhoods. That would be a big loss.”