All police forces in England and Wales to face additional five per cent budget cuts in 2015/16

Government funding to the police will be cut by five per cent in 2015/16 and more cuts are expected after the general election

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The Independent Online

Police forces in England and Wales will have to make reductions in frontline services after facing a five per cent cut in government funding in 2015/16.

The budget cuts will affect all 43 police forces in England and Wales, according to the BBC, and further cuts are also expected after the general election.

To accommodate the new budget some forces are planning to reduce police officer numbers.

One Welsh police force, Gwent Police, has announced it will shut down a highly regarded unit dedicated to helping victims of sexual offences.

Onyx unit, formed in 2009, won praise from then-Attorney General Dominic Grieve in 2011, but will be disbanded to help the force reduce its deficit, which is projected to reach £18.9m in 2018/19.

Kent Police has forecasted a budget cut of £61m over the next four years, while South Yorkshire will face a cut of £49m between 2016/17 and 2019/20 and Merseyside have forecasted cuts to reach £47.5m between 2016/17 and 2018/19.

In response, 34 PCCs are planning to increase the precept, collected by council tax, over the coming year to ease budget pressures.

While 30 in England will increase the precept by under 2%, above which a referendum would need to be held, Befordshire PCC Olly Martin has announced he will hold a referendum on the general election day to fill a £6m budget gap in 2019 and halt reductions in police recruitment.

The latest government cuts are in addition to drastically reduced spending on policing in the last four years.

Since 2011 the Home Office has reduced its funding to policing by 20 per cent at around £600m.