Jane Kennedy: Tory-Lib Dem cuts to Merseyside Police risks public safety

Jane Kennedy with Bill Esterson and Joe Anderson

Labour's prospective candidate for Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said she feared for public safety as it was revealed that the number of police officers in England had fallen to a nine year low.

Home Office figures have revealed that there were more than 5,000 fewer officers in England and Wales at the end of March than the previous year and fewer than at any point since 2003.

The number of police community support officers (PCSOs) also fell, down 9% to 14,393.

Jane said: "The affects of the government's cuts on the police have been even worse in Merseyside than most areas because of the way the police budget is calculated.

"A total of  83% of Merseyside police's budget is direct government grant and 17% comes from council tax. In Conservative Surrey, the police budget depends on around 50% government grant and 50% council tax.

"So the Tory-Lib Dem Government's decision to slash its police grant by 20% has a greater impact on areas like Merseyside than the more affluent areas down south.

"As a result, Merseyside Police is being hit particularly hard by the cuts. Figures indicate we've already lost 323 police officers here in Merseyside, but by 2015, we are set to lose 650 police officer posts, as well as 103 police community support officers and 452 civilian staff as the force has to £61.4m from its budget."

Jane said one of her major concerns is that the work Merseyside Police has done in recent years in reducing crime will be reversed.

She said: "Over the last decade, with the support of the last Labour Government, Merseyside Police made great strides in combating crime.

"The Police Federation feel that it is inevitable that crime and disorder across Merseyside will rise as a direct result of these cuts.

"Officers I have spoken to warn that the cuts are dangerous and will lead to a rise in crime.

"This government needs to know the damage it is doing to policing in Merseyside and the result will not just be a rise in crime, but an increase in the fear of crime in our communities.

"These cuts are going beyond what is safe. Theresa May should think again before slashing the budget even further. She should cut crime not Merseyside Police." 

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