Merseyside's Police Commissioner is warning people face paying more money for policing - or risk losing 125 officers.
The government has announced a £1billion boost for the service nationwide - but council tax payers will foot most of the bill.
Jane Kennedy says she will reluctantly ask residents if they are prepared to pay more.
Merseyside Police has lost 1,100 officers in the last eight years because of cuts to the service.
The Commissioner says Chief Constable Andy Cooke has told her the force is now more stretched than at any other time in his career.
Mrs Kennedy said she must ask for the full allowed increase from council tax payers to be able to balance the budget for the next two years.
She added that she would also be using some of the financial reserves saved for a rainy day because "the rain is falling."