THE Weaver Vale MP has criticised the government’s ‘sleight of hand’ on police funding.

Speaking during a Commons debate, Mike Amesbury raised the fact that Cheshire constabulary has lost 135 officers since 2010, and suffered cuts from central Government for a ninth consecutive year in real terms.

He said: "(This will) continue to put real pressures on our resources.

"When will the Minister ensure that our PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) gets the resources that he needs?”

Replying, Nick Hurd, minister of state for policing and the fire services, said: "As a result of the two funding settlements that I have taken through Parliament, the Cheshire PCC is now in a position to recruit an additional 43 officers and seven police community support officers."

But, speaking outside the chamber, Mike said: "The recruitment of extra officers has only been made possible by the government permitting a rise in the council tax precept.

"Policing should be funded by central government.

"What we’ve essentially got here is people being taxed twice for policing and even then still having a force with a smaller number of officers than we had before.

"The facts are clear, Cheshire Police has lost more than £40 million in central government funding since 2010 and no amount of government sleight of hand with the figures will hide that fact."