CUTS to government funding have put the squeeze on Wiltshire Police.

Home Office figures show that the force’s funding dropped by two per cent between the budgets for the 2015/16 and 2018/19 financial years. The decrease was even bigger in real terms, when inflation is taken into account.

However, police funding from council tax precepts has risen by 19 per cent during the same time period.

The county’s council tax precept is equivalent to 74 per cent of funding from the government, which is much higher than the England and Wales average of 47 per cent.

In Wiltshire, £63m of the police’s funding came from central government, and £47m came from the precept.

While they do have other revenue streams, including money received for policing major events such as football matches, most of their income is from these two sources.

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “The government’s austerity programme since 2010 has meant that funding for the public sector has been squeezed. Wiltshire Police has certainly felt that squeeze. I continue to lobby government to complete its promised review of the national police funding formula as I believe the current situation is unfair.

“Wiltshire receives one of the lowest funding settlements per resident from central government despite having to deal with the same range of policing challenges.”

“I have worked closely with the Chief Constable to save £21m in real terms. I am pleased that HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has assessed the Force as ‘good’ overall.

“I was pleased that the policing minister listened when I asked him for more local flexibility in setting the policing precept. This meant that, earlier this year, I was able to increase the policing part of council tax by £12 a year to protect local policing services.

“If central funding for Wiltshire Police remains stable, I want any future rises to the policing precept to increase the budget for local policing and not just to protect it.”

Every force in the country, except for the City of London, has seen a decrease in government funds and an increase in funds from council tax in recent years.