West Midlands Police faces the biggest funding cut of any major force in the country, Labour has warned.
Opposition MPs, councillors and activists met last night to launch a campaign against police budget reductions, following warnings that 400 officers could be lost in just one year.
Ed Balls, the shadow Home Secretary, published figures suggesting West Midlands Police would suffer a larger budget cut, as a proportion of its total funding, than other forces.
This is because it depends on funding from central government, which is to be cut by 20 per cent.
The force receives £579 million a year from the Treasury, 83 per cent of its total budget.
But contrast, Surrey Police receives just 51 per cent of its total budget, £118 million, from the Treasury.
This means West Midlands Police is likely to suffer more from Government spending cuts than other forces.
The only constabulary more dependent on central government funding is the tiny City of London force, which serves London’s financial district.
Police forces also raise money from the council tax precept, currently £99.45 for a Band D property in the West Midlands.
In theory, West Midlands Police Authority could attempt to raise this significantly, but it would encounter strong opposition.
Labour is protesting against police spending cuts in the West Midlands, and senior local figures met at Birmingham’s council house to plan the campaign.
Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne (Lab) said: “The Birmingham Labour Party strongly opposes 20 per cent cuts to police budgets, so we’re petitioning the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to back Birmingham’s police with the funds they need to keep our communities safe and maintain police numbers on our streets.
“The people of Birmingham do not want to see a return to the bad old days of high crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Although the Government has announced that national police funding will fall from £9.7 billion to £8.5 billion, it is not due to publish figures for individual forces until next month.
West Midlands Police has said it cannot announce decisions about the effects of funding cuts before then.
But in a statement last month, Chris Sims, the Chief Constable, said: “There is absolutely no doubt this is going to mean that the force employs fewer staff.
“But I remain absolutely confident that we will continue to protect and serve people in the West Midlands in the way they expect.”