CHESHIRE'S crime boss says the thin blue line is at 'breaking point' due to Government funding cuts.

And David Keane, the county's police and crime commissioner, has also hit out at the decision to only award officers a two per cent pay rise, rather than the three recommended.

He says that the government is not aware of the implications of decisions, following a report from the National Audit Office.

Mr Keane said: “Local police funding continues to be subject to stringent austerity measures implemented by central government and over the past few years, police forces have been subject to flat-cash funding from the government.

"This means funding has not increased in line with inflation and, in fact, has reduced each year with local residents having to make up the shortfall by paying more council tax.

“In Cheshire, we’ve seen a 37 per cent real term cut to our policing budget since 2010.

"I am doing everything I can to protect front line policing and make back office functions more efficient but our already thin blue line is now at breaking point.

“Crime is becoming more complex and we need increased investment from government to tackle the challenges we face.

"Our police officers are working harder than ever with increased pressure and ever diminishing resources, yet the government ignored the recommendation of an independent board to give them a three per cent pay rise.

"Instead, they recommended that they should only be given a two per cent rise which is to be funded entirely by already stretched local police budgets.

“This shows central government’s lack of understanding of the difficult position police services across the country are in and I am concerned about the long-term impact this could have on our communities.

“I will continue to work with other elected representatives locally to campaign for a fairer funding settlement for policing in Cheshire to allow us to put in place the necessary resources to protect residents.”