Falmouth’s MP has given her backing to Cornwall’s police for asking for more money to cope with the annual “summer surge” of visitors.

A bid for additional funding has been handed in to the Home Office, calling for help for Devon and Cornwall Police to deal with the impact of the exceptional number of visitors.

The force is the largest in England and receives more tourists than any other force outside London, yet has one of the lowest police officer densities in the country.

It sees a seven per cent increase in its base population – the highest in England and Wales – between April and September, which equates to 125,000 extra people each day if spread across a whole year.

This has a knock-on effect of reducing police funding to just 46p per person per day, compared to a national average of 57p.

Between April and September the region sees an 11 per cent increase in crimes, a 14 per cent increase in incidents - with “significantly higher” rates in some areas – and an 18 per cent increase in high risk missing people.

It also puts pressure on response times, due to the volume of traffic and the limitations of Cornwall’s roads, with only 66 per cent of immediate incidents attended within 20 minutes in July 2019 compared to 73 per cent in January 2019.

In her 60-page bid for Special Grant funding, Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez has argued that while tourists bring prosperity to the two counties and Isles of Scilly that make up the policing area, there is no direct revenue from this to fund police.

The Home Office Special Grant fund is a £73 million pot of money that is ‘top-sliced’ from police forces and then used to deal with exceptional or unusual circumstances. Last year it was used to help Wiltshire Police cope with the Salisbury novichok nerve agent poisoning.

Ms Hernandez’s bid details £17.9 million of expenditure over three years that is linked to the ‘summer surge’ and requests compensation for this.

On Thursday she headed to Westminster with a delegation of councillors, MPs and police representatives from across the force area to hand the bid in.

She said: “We have invested heavily in services like the rural crime team and innovated by collaborating with other emergency services to create new roles to help the force cope with unprecedented levels of calls for service over the past three years.

“The increase in activity is no longer confined to the school summer holidays, we’ve shown that it begins in April and lasts right through to September, but the impact on our people and the communities they serve is year-round because training and leave have to be taken in the remaining six months.

“The force has to deal with this additional challenge of a peninsula that is isolated from others, with just ten per cent of it is within six miles of another force area, and it’s predominantly rural, so our resources and spread thinly.

“Devon and Cornwall are stunning places to visit but we’re not free from crime. In recent months two huge cocaine hauls were detected off our coast, the force has disrupted county lines drug dealing schemes and a serious and organised people smuggling operation.

“Our communities deserve consistently good service from the force this bid is all about us being able to keep them, and our visitors, safe.”

Among those supporting the bid were Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton, who said: “I am pleased to have met with our PCC Alison Hernandez and the Police Minister, Kit Malthouse, to make the case for additional funding for Devon & Cornwall Police to support our officers to do their essential work.

“There is no doubt that our police are stretched during the months when we welcome the many visitors who love to visit our region and this additional funding with help.”