The Government has been warned that budget shortfalls could force a cut in the number of police officers on the beat in England and Wales.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) and the Association of Police Authorities claim a funding increase of nearly 6 per cent is needed, but that police forces may only receive a rise of 3 per cent, because of council tax caps.
They say £350m is needed to maintain current police numbers, now at a record high of nearly 140,000.
Chris Fox, Acpo president, told the BBC: “The last thing we want is a reduction in frontline policing but it is a very real possibility.”
The Home Office said next year’s police budget was still being considered.