A NEW survey by Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has suggested tackling child abuse and sexual exploitation should be Clive Grunshaw’s top priority.

The former county councillor had quizzed 3,000 people countywide, as budgetary pressures grow on where police resources should be concentrated.

And for 91 per cent of those who responded, work to combat child sexual exploitation ranked highest.

This was followed closely by serious and organised crime investigations, on 90 per cent, with fighting terrorism and extremism considered vital by 78 per cent and domestic violence by just over seven out of 10 people.

The latest confidence rating in policing for Lancashire is said to be 77 per cent, with slightly less people believing that the force understood local concerns, and only 63 per cent stating that the constabulary could be relied upon.

Nearly half of those surveyed felt that the police were still doing a good job, despite all the outside factors.

Mr Grunshaw said, “Year-on-year we have less money to deliver policing in Lancashire which is understandably affecting people’s confidence that police will be there for them.

“Reassuringly though 85 per cent of people in my survey who had been victims of crime reported it to police.”

“Many of the people I spoke with over the summer were very sympathetic towards the police and at pains to point out that they don’t blame the police, rather they believe they are doing the best with the resources they have.”

Currently there are 800 fewer officers serving the county, than in 2010, which Mr Grunshaw thinks has dented public confidence over time.