Spending on crime prevention work – including street lights, closed-circuit television and police visits to schools – has been cut by almost 60 per cent because of Government austerity measures.
The budget has fallen from £61m two years ago to £24.6m in 2012-13, an analysis of Home Office figures shows. The cash is intended to tackle the fear of crime and its causes, paying for practical measures such as lighting and community work including gang-intervention projects.
Some of the biggest cutbacks have taken place in Birmingham (down from £1.55m to £626,000), Manchester (down from £1.03m to £416,000) and Leeds (down from £1.19m to £479,000).
Responsibility for crime prevention work is to be passed to the new Police and Crime Commissioners, who will be elected in public ballots next month.
No figures have been published for crime prevention spending in the next financial year, prompting Labour to claim that further cuts could be in the pipeline. The party said the Home Secretary, Theresa May, was "conning" the new commissioners and voters by refusing to disclose next year's crime prevention spending.
Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: "It is communities that will pay the price of the Tories' decisions to turn their backs on the fight against crime."
There was no comment last night from the Home Office.