Chancellor George Osborne and Home Secretary Theresa May have been rebuked by the statistics watchdog for wrongly claiming police funding will be protected.
The Chancellor promised in the Autumn Statement that there will be 'no cuts in the police budgets at all,' adding: 'There will be real-terms protection for police funding.'
But Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, ruled that budgets for police forces across England and Wales were being cut by £160million in real-terms between 2015/16 and 2016/17.
This cut is equivalent to the salaries of 3,200 police officers over the two years.
The £160million figure, which takes into account inflation over the two years, was quoted in House of Commons Library research last week but was dismissed by Home Secretary Theresa May.
In a letter to Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham today, Sir Andrew said he agreed with their analysis and criticised Mr Osborne and Mrs May for misleading the public over the effective cut in police funding.
In the letter, which has also been sent to the Home Office, Sir Andrew wrote: 'We agree with the findings of this analysis that between 2015/16 and 2016/17 there has been a decrease in this element of police funding in real terms.'