Hereford MP Paul Keetch is calling a crisis meeting of all MPs across the West Mercia Police area of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

They will discuss changes in police funding from central government that he fears will hit West Mercia hard.

The Government is switching funding from rural to urban police forces.

Although the Government is offering the force a three per cent increase in funding because of changes in pay and pensions, at least 5.9 per cent increase in West Mercia's budget will be required to simply stand still.

Mr Keetch has met Joyce Thomas, the chairman of West Mercia Police Authority, and their director of finance, Stephen Howarth.

"The news rules for police funding will be a disaster for West Mercia," claimed Mr Keetch.

"If the Police Authority does not raise its council charge significantly the force will have to cut the number of police officers it has on the streets. This could mean up to 140 fewer police officers.

"I am calling for all the West Mercia MPs to meet with the Chief Constable and the chair of the police authority to discuss this and I'm hoping to arrange this in Westminster before the police authority meets on February 18.

"In order to meet the promised number of officers the force has planned, the police authority could be looking to up their council tax demands by almost 13 per cent. This could mean an extra £13.50 a year for the average Band D tax payer.''