FEWER bobbies will be on the beat as Thames Valley Police braces itself for funding cuts of more than £22m over the next three years.

A reduction of 59 police officer posts will be made and council tax paid to the force will increase by 1.99 per cent this year, after Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld presented budget which was approved last week.

It comes as Thames Valley Police admitted in the budget report that the 'true scale' of crimes such as rape, child sexual abuse and domestic violence was still being 'uncovered'.

Oxford City Councillor Dee Sinclair, who represents the city on the police and crime panel, told the Oxford Mail 'very difficult and challenging times' lay ahead - despite TVP already dealing with £88.3m of cash cuts since 2011.

A total of £10.5m worth of savings will be made - with a draft budget for day to day police costs for 2017/18 totalling £392m.

Mrs Sinclair added: "It's very difficult and challenging times when you look at the crime figures and fear of crime.

"It's been coming down [from Government] for a number of years."

The city councillor admitted it was the best that could be done due to reductions in cash from the Government.

Deputy PCC Matthew Barber previously said he thought there was no 'dire news' coming the force's way in terms of Home Office funding.

He added in general, although public finances may improve, he couldn't see public spending increasing 'directly in line'.

Mr Barber said: "There is always issues around the edges and there is things that we could spend more money on.

"I wouldn't say we wouldn't want more money for the police, but given the scale of cuts we have had, we haven't actually seen the destruction that many people have forecast in an awful lot of services."

Mrs Sinclair added Chief Constable Francis Habgood had been 'candid' in his comments on the cuts in suggesting a reduction of income would eventually have to mean fewer police officers.

Members of the public would still see PCSOs on the beat she said, but added police constables would be focused more on 'response work'.

Currently there are 4,200 police officers in the force who cannot be made redundant by law.

The changes to council tax will mean band D households in the county will be charged £170.28 for 2017/18 - and increase of £3.32 on last year.

The council tax rise is a result of the Government allowing PCCs to increase their police precept after former chancellor George Osborne announced no police force would face a cash reduction in their overall funding.

Mrs Sinclair added their was still 'uncertainty' on the future of funding income for the police due to Brexit and the review by the Government into the funding formula - a calculation which decides how much money each force receives every year.

As well as setting the budget for the day to day running costs of the force, Mr Stansfeld presented Thames Valley's capital funding over the next three years in IT systems, property and other equipment.