Top cop speaks out as forces face overhaul

Chief constable Steve Finnigan
Chief constable Steve Finnigan

Lancashire’s most senior police officer has today warned austerity measures have left the force on the brink of the biggest change to policing “in a generation”.

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan was speaking as a new report called for fresh debate over how the police can adapt to further budget cuts.

Crime may be down but the demands on the police service continue to rise

He was among the senior figures involved in drawing up a new blueprint for policing, which has called for more co-operation between forces.

He said: “Crime may be down but the demands on the police service continue to rise.

“We know that the police service needs to change so that we can best meet the evolving needs of the public within a climate of continuing budget pressures.

“It is vital that we get this right – we are standing at the start of the greatest sea-change in the way that we operate policing services in a generation.”

Today’s report, published by the National Debate Advisory Group, calls for “rapid action” and suggests ways the police can adapt to cope with increasing demand and reduced funding.

But Chief Constable Finnigan said the paper, which calls for changes to the way forces are funded, is “not tearing up the rule book”.

He said the suggestions are intended to provoke the debate needed to ensure an agreement is reached by the autumn in order to influence the next government spending review.