A police tsar is to consider taking on private sponsorship for his force in a bid to survive "austere times with a shrinking budget and workforce".
Martyn Underhill, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Dorset, has held talks with a possible sponsor about an arrangement involving all five PCCs in the south west region.
Writing on his blog, Mr Underhill, a former detective chief inspector for Sussex Police, said he could see "huge potential benefit to forming appropriate sponsorship relationships with reputable organisations".
The 43 police forces across England and Wales face funding cuts of up to 20% by 2015.
Mr Underhill, who was second-in-charge in the Sarah Payne child murder case, said: "The police family in Dorset is living in austere times with a shrinking budget and workforce.
"Despite those challenges, we are maintaining an efficient and effective service for Dorset.
"However, our funding needs to be readdressed and I continue to lobby the Government for extra funds. We are the lowest- funded force and have seen the worst cuts."
Mr Underhill said he met a possible sponsor at a crime reduction event last Friday and will ask for the issue to be added to the agenda at the next regional PCCs and chief constables meeting.
He went on: "I can see huge potential benefit to forming appropriate sponsorship relationships with reputable organisations. They will give Dorset Police greater funding to maintain a high-quality service.
"They will also ensure that we have the funds to help us to combat crime and provide reassurance to communities."