VIOLENT crime in Chorley has risen by just over a quarter, new figures show.

And a leaked Home Office document, prepared by officials in the lead up to a new government strategy to tackle serious violence, said cuts to the number of police officers had “likely contributed” to a rise in violent crime.

But Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who launched the strategy, said that was not the case and claimed not to have seen the leaked document.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, is calling on the government to reconsider police funding amid increasing demands on forces.

He said: “While the Government continue to highlight the need for additional resources for policing, they are failing to provide any extra money.

“In fact they have now forced the burden of funding policing onto local council tax payers.

“The reality is we are seeing more and more people contacting the police, with Lancashire having the highest volume of calls for its population outside London. The demands being placed on the force continue to put a significant strain on frontline policing.

“Time and again I have said the government must open their eyes and understand the impact that austerity in policing, and throughout the public sector, is having.”

“Sadly, when the time has come for action, all we get are rehashed policies and no extra resources.”

Since 2010, Lancashire Constabulary have had to make more than £84m of savings and still have to make an estimated £18m more by 2022, despite government claims that police budgets have been protected.

These reductions have led to the loss of around 800 officers and 350 police staff which include PCSOs as well as other staff.

In Blackburn, figures compiled by national think-tank UK Crimestats, which gathers data from police forces around the country, show a 36 per cent rise in violent crime from March 2017 to February 2018 compared with the previous year. The number of recorded offences rose to 3,828 from 2,811.

Meanwhile, Chorley rose from 1,643 to 2,094 (27 per cent).

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she has not seen analysis prepared by her own department that says cuts to police numbers have “likely contributed” to a rise in serious violent crime.

The Conservative Cabinet minister insisted she will do “whatever it takes” to make Britain’s streets safe as she launched a blitz on violent crime.

But she denied seeing Home Office research that suggested offenders may have been “encouraged” by the lack of police resources and fall in charge rates. As of September there were 121,929 officers.