Labour MP Bill Esterson meets Police Federation as cuts spark safety fears

 

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson with Merseyside Police Federation's Kevin Walsh and Tony Barton.
 


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said he is more concerned now than ever after Merseyside Police officers branded the Tory-Lib Dem Government's cuts to the force as 'dangerous'.

Bill met with Merseyside Police Federation members Tony Barton and Kevin Walsh to discuss their concerns about the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government's decision to slash the police budget by 20%.

The Police Federation warn Merseyside Police will be "significantly affected by the 20% cut in police budgets imposed upon police forces".

Bill is now working with the federation, fellow Merseyside MPs and the party's candidate for Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy to raise the impact of the cuts on Merseyside Police.

Bill said: "The affects of the government's cuts on the police have been even greater in Merseyside because of the way the police's budget is calculated.

"The ration of funding to the police is dependent on the demographics of the area. Merseyside is funded at 83% government grant and 17% council tax precept. While in contrast, Surrey is around 50% government grant and 50% precept, on account of the relative wealth in the area.

"So the Tory-Lib Dem Government's decision to slash its police funding by 20% has a greater impact on areas which have more deprivation that the more affluent areas down south.

"As a result, Merseyside Police is being hit particularly hard by the cuts.

"Merseyside is 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 over the next four years..

"The Police Federation tell me that Merseyside has actually lost around 500 police officers so far through the process of 'natural wastage' and a recruitment freeze.

"The Police Authority is doing its utmost to make savings to counter the loss of such a large number of officers, which has this week seen an announcement that 40 new officers are being taken on because of the savings they have made.

"But that is a drop in the ocean when you consider the losses Merseyside Police has experienced and is still to face as it has to make such huge savings in the next few years."

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

Bill said: "Over the last decade, Merseyside Police has taken great strides in combating crime rates.

"The Police Federation feel that it is inevitable that crime and disorder across Merseyside will rise turning round the continuous reduction that has been witnessed in recent years.

"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.

"I am working with the Police Federation and the rest of my Merseyside colleagues in Parliament to put pressure o the government to reverse its damaging and dangerous policing policies."

Labour's candidate for Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy urged Home Secretary Thesesa May to reverse the Tory-Lib Dem's policy of slashing police numbers in the Merseyside.
 
Jane said: "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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