STEPS are being taken to address the underfunding of Hampshire Constabulary and to ensure resources are directed to where they are needed most.

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane said: “If government funding continues to be worked out in the same way, our area will continue to be unfairly disadvantaged from underfunding.

“This will adversely affect the ability to sustain what Hampshire Constabulary delivers, today and into the future, to defeat those who wish us harm and engage in criminal actions.

“I have prioritised making the case for a fairer national funding formula to government and the argument that an update is needed is compelling.

“There have been significant changes in the risk and threats we all face from those who wish us harm and from criminals, whether individuals or organised groups.

“The absence of growth to meet new demand, the changes in what prevention, detection and investigation of crimes need in terms of skills (increasingly digital) and change in proactive responses by our constabulary, and the impact of other partner pressures that can create additional loading on policing – and all this is before we take into account inflation, nationally agreed pay awards and other increasing costs the police face.

“We have not yet received from Government details of funding we will receive for the coming year.

“Yearly settlements make financial forecasting and planning more complex.

“But to offset this instability I have initiated a three-year funding review for Hampshire Constabulary to mitigate risk and to allow for implementation of changes in a planned way.

“It is often the case urgent actions cannot find the best solutions for the longer term and narrow the options to those that can be done quickly. Having a three-year view will allow greater confidence to those we serve that these plans are deliberate, focused on their safety and strategic.

“But these potential changes will be hard and not without impact on the risks we face.

“I have challenged the Chief Constable to tell me what can be achieved within our budget and how she is ensuring we are, and continue to, deliver for those at greatest risk.”

Mr Lane’s message is clear: “My priority is to keep people safer and to reflect the particular risks that communities face.

“My questioning of, and challenge to, the Chief Constable is to keep me fully informed about the operational decisions she proposes to keep us as safe as possible.

“In the current financial situation this means being frank about what can be done.”

“We should all be clear no budget decisions have been made and cannot be without this advice.

“And starkly, it is also correct we have no final figures yet since the settlement from national government is not yet known and my changes to the local precept rates are also not yet announced, if there are to be any.”