LANCASHIRE Constabulary has been judged as outstanding by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC), in a report released today.

Lancashire police were rated ‘Outstanding’ in the categories of financial planning and delivering an affordable police service, and ‘Good’ in efficiency – with an overall ‘Outstanding’ judgment.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: “I am extremely pleased that HMIC has recognised that the Constabulary has responded well to the financial challenge it faces and that we are on track to make the necessary savings by 2015/2016.”

However, the constabulary has to identify savings of around £80 million by 2017/18 to meet the savings requirement generated by the government’s austerity measures.

A sum of £60 million has already been identified through a series of organisational reviews, which has seen the workforce reduce by 957 since March 2010 – 16 per cent of the total workforce.

“While we have succeeded in minimising the impact on frontline services so far, the remaining £20 million is going to be more painful,” continued DCC Rhodes.

“There is no doubt that the public will start to feel a difference in how we police and that was always going to be an inevitable consequence of losing over 600 police officers.”

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, congratulated the constabulary on its achievements.

“There is no doubt that the next £20 million is going to be hard to achieve without it impacting on the frontline,” said Mr Grunshaw.

DCC Rhodes added: “The Constabulary is determined to meet this challenge and while we will continue to prioritise the frontline, we can no longer preserve it.

“However, people in Lancashire should be in no doubt that whilst policing will need to change in the future, our determination to deliver high quality services to keep them safe remains at the forefront of any change.”