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The force says...

Lincolnshire Police covers the third largest policing area in the country (almost 2,300 square miles) with just 1,100 officers, 149 police community support officers and 256 police staff. The cost of policing per head of population is the lowest in the country.

The population of Lincolnshire is significantly lower than the national average with high levels of deprivation along the east coast and pockets in the west of the county.

In 2014/15, Lincolnshire Police recorded 158,351 calls for service, 35,205 of these were recorded as crimes of which 13% were related to anti-social behaviour.

Crime and anti-social behaviour levels within Lincolnshire have fallen for the last consecutive 4 years. Calls for service have decreased by 4.2% compared to the same period last year and crime levels remain at the same levels as last year.

The force entered into a strategic partnership in 2012 with G4S delivering significant savings. The outsourcing was the largest in the UK, covering 13 policing business areas including the force control room and custody provision.

The force collaborates regionally combating major, serious and organised crime, providing criminal justice services and specialised policing functions including armed and roads policing.

Demands on the force have changed significantly in the last few years and the way we police is being changed by the implementation of the policing model project. The force is moving additional resources into high risk areas such as cyber-enabled crime, child sexual exploitation and modern day slavery.

Lincolnshire receives the lowest central funding per head of population of any police force, some £34 less per person than the national average.

Medium term financial projections indicate that the force will be challenged to sustain an adequate number of police officers to ensure public safety and a viable force beyond 2016/17 if police finance continues to be allocated on the current basis.

Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by Lincolnshire Police. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.

HMIC says...

Lincolnshire Police provides policing services to the non-metropolitan county of Lincolnshire. The police force area covers 2,292 square miles with approximately 150 miles of coastline in the east of England. Although there are some more affluent areas, Lincolnshire has a high level of poverty. Around 0.7 million people live in a mainly rural setting. Its urban areas include the city of Lincoln and the small towns of Boston, Grantham, Skegness and Spalding. The resident population is increased by university students and those who visit or travel through the county.

England and Wales is made up of over 181,000 small areas known as census output areas (OAs). These have been defined by the Office for National Statistics to group together people with similar characteristics and to include, on average, 125 households. The size of the geographical area covered by each OA varies according to the population density in different parts of the country. The largest OA in England and Wales covers 20,166 hectares, and the smallest less than 0.02 hectares. A football pitch is approximately 0.75 of a hectare.

There are 3,422 OAs in Lincolnshire with an average size of 252 hectares which is much bigger than the national average of 87 hectares. While two fifths (39 percent) of the OAs in Lincolnshire are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a large proportion (30 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating predominantly rural nature of the county. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Lincoln and other towns of Lincolnshire with the largest spread across the extensive, more sparsely populated rural areas.

The advantage of analysis at output area level is that it supports a people-centred approach. Differences in the socio-economic characteristics of people who live in different OAs lead to different behaviours, including the use of public services. These differences are reflected in the information that is collected in large data sets such as the census, the Ordnance Survey (OS) point of interest data and other quasi-economic sources that have been used in this analysis.

HMIC has been working with the London School of Economics to use econometric techniques to statistically model and predict the level of reactive demands for police services in each OA in England and Wales. Using police incident data and several thousand characteristics (variables) drawn from the census data, OS point of interest data and other smaller data sets for each OA, it has been possible to predict the number of incidents for each OA and determine how challenging each OA is likely to be to police. We have also used the house prices from the Land Registry as a proxy indicator of wealth. Lincolnshire has a median house price of £164,337 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£254,549). Excluding the least expensive ten percent and the most expensive ten percent of house prices, there is a 56 percent difference between low and high prices within the force area, suggesting that the high level of poverty.

The predicted number of incidents for each OA varies considerably. In Lincolnshire, one percent of the OAs accounts for 16 percent of the predicted demands for police services – this is 0.3 percent of the total force area.

A concentration of predicted demands in a small number of OAs is a feature of every police force. We have designated these OAs (approximately 1,800 throughout England and Wales) as a very high challenge to police. These areas of very high challenge are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both.

Within Lincolnshire:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is higher than the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of anti-social behaviour is broadly in line with the national level of one percent; and
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance is higher than the national level of one percent.

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Lincolnshire we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 3,422 OAs. These calculations of distance and time are based on using the road network under normal driving conditions and speeds, and indicate the size of the area and the quality of its road network.

Lincolnshire has 62 miles of motorways and trunk roads; the average travel distance of 24 miles (longest 49 miles and shortest 0.4 miles) and the average travel time of 40 minutes are much higher than the respective national averages of 17 miles and 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and complexity of Lincolnshire.

While the concentration of demands in a small number of locations (covering a very small area) may be helpful in focusing resources, it is not the totality of demand. The provision of services extends beyond those areas that are a very high challenge to police and includes the least challenging and most remote areas. The challenge of providing services throughout Lincolnshire is a function of many things including the size and topography of the area, the road network and how congested the roads are. These considerations influence how police resources are organised and managed – for example, where police officers are based and their working patterns.