Fears for the future policing of Longridge have been voiced this week after it was revealed the town is to become part of a much larger division.
The town is currently run by Lancashire’s Eastern Division, which also covers Blackburn, Accrington, Clitheroe, Darwen and Great Harwood.
But shake-ups throughout the county will see Longridge being policed through a much larger division when Pennine Division – which includes Burnley, Colne, Rawtenstall, Padiham, Haslingden, Nelson and Barnoldswick – merges with that of Eastern.
Lancashire is facing its biggest internal shake-up for 17 years, after it emerged the force needs to save £20m more than first thought. The force is proposing to merge the management structure of its six divisions into three by April, 2014.
One of the first to voice his fears has been Coun David Smith, who says the news has come as a “bolt out of the blue”.
He believes there will be all kinds of implications, one in particular being for the community safety partnerships.
Coun Smith says he is currently in the process of looking at all the various implications for the town and hopes to know more by next week.
And town mayor, Coun Rose Adamson, wants reassurances about the changes and subsequent police response times. It is quite worrying if there is a big emergency over at the far end of the county and I think we need reassurances from senior officers that measures are in place so that we will have the cover we need.
“Our police cover quite a big area and the rural area is quite different from town policing.
“We need some reassurances that our response times would be met.”
A statement issued by police bosses at Hutton said: “The financial challenge we are facing over the coming years increases our initial ask of £43 million to £60 million and extends the time period by a further two years. We still have around £20 million to find by 2016-17.
“So far we have identified £40million. However, an additional £20million – with around £10.5m to be taken out before 1 April, 2014 – is a different proposition and one which has pushed us to a solution which will see us deconstruct, in part, the model and structures that have served us and the public well for more than a decade.”
Besides reducing the number of divisions to three – Western and Northern, Southern and Central and Eastern and Pennine – there will be reviews of H Division (mounted, dogs and firearms) and G Division (specialist units like the force major investigation team and the serious organised crime unit).
Chief Constable Steve Finnigan said: “Changing our senior management structure in this way means that we can recognise significant savings without impacting on frontline policing or the services we provide to the public. As I have said many times, we will do all that we can to protect the frontline during these challenging financial times and this option allows us to do that.”
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Weather for Longridge
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 9 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: South