A CUMBRIAN MP has said that figures released to show cash reserves held by police forces only succeeded in highlighting the severe funding problems facing the county's own constabulary.

The Home Office released details of the amount of financial reserves held by the police, but Tim Farron MP said all it did was show what stain Cumrbia Police was under.

According to the figures, Cumbria Police has the joint second lowest reserves out all the police forces across the country.

The £3 million it has in reserve, according to figures, is level with that of Bedfordshire Police while only Wiltshire Police has less.

“Crime across the country is continuing to rise at an alarming rate," said the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP.

“The publication of the reserve figures is an attempt by the Government to pass the buck onto local Police and Crime Commissioners, but instead they’ve just highlighted how seriously underfunded our police force are.

“The new figures reveal that Cumbria Police have the joint second lowest reserves in the country, meaning they have no financial wriggle room at all.

“The Government can’t disguise the fact that heavy cuts to local police forces have had a devastating effect both on the front line and behind the scenes, and are putting local people’s lives at risk as a result.”

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd said: "Police reserves are an important tool for police leaders to fund projects and manage financial risk, but we also need to ensure there is real transparency about how they, as taxpayers’ money, are being used to improve the service delivered to the public.

"I’ve asked PCCs to set out their reasons for holding funds in reserve, so that the public can have a clearer picture of how their money is being spent on policing."

The figures did show that, collectively, reserves being held by the country's police forces have grown in recent years. In March 2017, the police collectively held over £1.6 billion in usable resource reserves, which compares to £1.4 billion in 2011.

Peter McCall, Cumbria PCC, reserves were necessary for police forces as they are for any business.

"When you run a £140m business which is effectively what the force is you have to plan for future upkeep," he said.

"The £3m we have in our general reserves is the minimum our auditors would recommend.

"Policing is a risky business and it's a response business to a large extent, you need to have that flexibility."