HAMPSHIRE Police could be set for a £10 million funding boost – the government has announced.

But it will be already hard-pressed council tax payers who will be funding it, critics say.

It comes as the Home Office announced a £450 million funding package yesterday for forces across England and Wales.

Police will be given an extra £180 million to combat terrorism and cyber crime, while another £175 million will also be put into a national pot to cover ‘transformation’ projects.

But the other half of the Home Office’s funding package could come from local police chiefs increasing their precept charges on the yearly council tax bill.

Police and Crime Commissioners will now be able to raise their charge by up to £12 each year – bringing to an end the current £5 cap.

If Hampshire’s commissioner Michael Lane does opt for the £12 increase, it could bring in an extra £9.6 million for the county’s police force, alongside the boost in anti-terrorism and cyber funding.

The decision has drawn praise from local politicians, including Southampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith, and Eastleigh’s Conservative MP, Mims Davies, both who welcomed the increase in funding.

However John Apter, chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation, accused the government of “passing the buck” over police funding.

He said: “The government can’t wash its hands with responsibility by passing the buck onto local police and crime commissioners.

“But I say through gritted teeth that I would encourage our police and crime commissioner to raise the precept by the highest possible amount.

“We are in a crisis and we need better funding and if the only way we can get that is through local taxation then we should.”

Another to criticise the move was MP for Southampton Test, Alan Whitehead.

The Labour MP accused the government of replacing £400 million pound of cuts last year by “raiding the local tax payer.”

However, Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said the government’s funding will “encourage reform” and help forces embrace digital policing.

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane welcomed the move.

He said: “I’m delighted that the minister has recognised the need for flexibility in the precept local tax setting powers and has given me the option of £1 a month, £12 a year.

“If that is something that I would wish to exercise on your behalf.

“It is also the levels that we need to maintain as I’m advised professionally by the Chief Constable to keep us all safer from the greatest threats and risks of harm.”