Merseyside’s police commissioner has condemned “shockingly cruel cuts” by central Government to support services offered to those bereaved by murder or manslaughter.

Jane Kennedy hit out after learning the Government only intends to continue funding support for families whose loved ones have been murdered or killed after April 2010.

In October last year, the coalition announced funding for some victim support services would be handed over to police and crime commissioners.

But it was also made clear that help for those affected by murder would remain centrally funded through a National Homicide Service.

At a general meeting of police and crime commissioners on Tuesday, Ms Kennedy condemned the U-turn.

She challenged Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims Minister Damian Green after he confirmed this service would only be available to those affected in the last four years.

The decision means vulnerable families left bereft by the murder and manslaughter of a loved one prior to April 2010 will receive no support from central Government from October this year.

Ms Kennedy said: “I absolutely condemn this shockingly cruel cut to services provided to the families who are victims of homicide and manslaughter.

"The minister has today confirmed the coalition Government has broken its promise to those bereaved by the most serious crimes of all, murder and manslaughter.

"They are no longer going to provide support through a national homicide service to families bereaved before April 2010.

“This is a cruel decision that will leave will families without the support and funding they deserve."

She added: “I urge ministers to reconsider and will be speaking to my colleagues around the country to ask them to support me in demanding Government supports all families affected by murder and manslaughter.

“What a desperately sad day for families who are already extremely vulnerable."

The commissioner raised her concerns at the meeting organised by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners after the cut was highlighted by charity Mothers against Murder and Aggression UK.

Responding to Ms Kennedy's concerns the Ministry of Justice said there was no cut in funding to support victims of crime. It added that more money was being made available.

In a statement, the department said: "Losing a loved one to homicide is devastating. We provide £2.4 million each year for a dedicated, specialist service that offers support carefully tailored to these victims' needs.

"On top of this we also fund other charities able to help victims bereaved by homicide.

"We are making more money available than ever before to support victims of crime, with the aim to double what we currently spend.

"From October Police and Crime Commissioners will be responsible for commissioning the majority of victims' services as they will be best placed to know what victims in their local communities most need."