CENTRAL Government has pledged a further £3m to reimburse Wiltshire Police following the Salisbury and Amesbury nerve agent attack.

Responding to the Novichock incident is expected to cost the force £11m in operational costs, of which is £2.5m of overtime to police officers.

The £3m adds to £6.6m already reclaimed by the force, taking the total up to £9.6m and fills the deficit in funding caused by the attack .

Police Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said he fully expects all costs associated with the operation to be met centrally by the Government.

Extra costs to Wiltshire Police following the agent attack in both Salisbury and Amesbury include £327,000 for the replacement of police vehicles, £230,000 on additional equipment required during the operation and more than £650,000 on accommodation and food, primarily for those working on cordons.

The projected cost of the incidents is around 10 per cent of the forces entire annual policing budget.

In a letter to Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner, Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP, acknowledged the "continuous hard work" of officers, staff and volunteers still involved in the operation, he has previously recognised that the incidents had "placed an unprecedented pressure on Wiltshire Police."

Mr Macpherson said: “Wiltshire Police resources were stretched more than ever as a result of these incidents and we continue to have officers on cordons today.

“I continue to be so proud of the resilience of those who have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of the public in Amesbury and Salisbury.

"This includes Wiltshire Police officers, staff and volunteers, as well as our mutual aid colleagues, security officers and a significant amount of partner agencies - both locally and nationally. I would also like to thank the public for their continued support and patience.”

Wiltshire Police is the third lowest funded force in the country, and receives £20 less per resident to spend on keeping our communities safe than the average force.

Office of National Statistics figures revealed a 12 per cent increase in violent crime in the county since July 2015, compared to a 22 per cent rise nationally.

However during the same period there was an eight per cent drop in burglaries.

Mr Macpherson added: "I have been pressing this case with ministers at every available opportunity; Wiltshire is the third lowest funded Force and receives £20 less per person than the national average of £171.

“I have less money to keep the public safe than all of the PCCs who border us.

"It's a policing postcode lottery and is unacceptable.”