My right hon. Friend last met the chief constable of the Lancashire constabulary at the Association of Chief Police Officers' drugs conference in April, when they discussed a number of matters of mutual interest. My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister of State met the chief constable and members of the police authority on 11 July, to discuss police manpower and the costs of security arrangements at party conferences in Blackpool.
I thank my hon. Friend for that information. Can he confirm to the House the excellent progress that the Lancashire police force is making in increasing its crime protection rate to 49 per cent., while reducing the incidence of burglaries by 10 per cent. and implementing neighbourhood watch schemes? In the light of that excellent performance, can he give me the reassurance that he will take a broad range of representations into account when Lancashire next requests more police officers to further its excellent work?