Lincolnshire Police role candidate takes fight for fairer funding to Downing Street
A man who hopes to take on Lincolnshire's Policing and Crime Commissioner role has taken the fight for fairer funding to Downing Street.
Independent candidate for the reported £65,000-a-year post David Bowles has personally delivered a letter to the Prime Minister.
It outlines the urgent need for a ministerial review of the funding formula used to work out policing budgets.
He is being backed by his counterparts in the rural areas Cumbria, North Wales and Dorset.
It comes ahead of elections for the commissioner roles on November 15 but Mr Bowles insists he does not want to bring political mud-slinging into the issue.
Mr Bowles has also launched a petition on the Government's website called "Fair funding for rural police forces".
He said: "I will have a focus on two issues, being tougher on crime and sorting out the finances. I have been absolutely staggered at how badly our force is funded but not only that, it has got worse."
It has been widely reported that Lincolnshire Police is one of the most under-funded in the country because the grant from Whitehall is so low.
Mr Bowles said this is because of a misplaced perception that crime rates are low.
"It is a myth," he said.
"Excluding London, crime rates are on a par with much of the rest of the country but actually worse than places like Sussex, Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire.
"In spite of this we have fewer officers per head of population than any other part of the country. We have 1.65 officers per 1,000 population while the national average is 50 per cent higher.
"Looking at the way we are treated in a complicated formula I have assessed a shortfall of well over £7m per annum – enough for around another 130 police officers with back up and support."
Mr Bowles says the problem has been exacerbated by the abolition of the Rural Police Fund last year.
Chairman of Lincolnshire Police Federation Stuart Hamilton said: "Funding equals police officers. This is not new news, it's a long-standing issue that's never been addressed by Government and we are, without a shadow of a doubt, let down by the funding formula which makes the cuts we have faced even harder to stomach."