GOVERNMENT austerity has “come at a cost of being able to safeguard our streets”, the Conservative Party’s police and crime commissioner candidate has said.

Jonathon Seed, the Tory candidate for the commissioner job in next year’s elections, called on the winner of his party’s leadership race to fund extra police officers.

Referencing a promise from leadership race candidate Sajid Javid to spend £1bn on an additional 20,000 police officers, Mr Seed said: “I welcome the support that some candidates in the contest for leader of the Conservative Party are giving to increasing police budgets.

“This will go some way to restore confidence in our police policy makers in Whitehall.”

In Wiltshire, the Police Federation has complained that officer numbers have fallen by 250 since 2007. Last year, official figures suggested there were 37 more frontline officers in the county compared to 2015. Across the country, police forces had lost more than 7,000 officers as they battled funding cuts.

In an open letter, Mr Seed said: “I am hopeful that whoever becomes our new prime minister will increase the number of officers on the front line and champion the men and women who are keeping us safe despite the enormous strain that increases in demand put them under.”

The Wiltshire councillor added: “I attended a meeting in London last month with the Home Secretary and he reiterated his determination to continue to increase the police budget even beyond the £1billion increase he secured from the Treasury this financial year - but what are we seeing of this funding in Swindon and Wiltshire?”

Nationally, forces in England and Wales have lost one in ten frontline officers.

A Home Office spokeswoman last year said police forces were being given a £460m increase in overall funding in 2018/19, with extra cash for counter terrorism and local policing.