MP’s concern as Tory-Lib Dem cuts to police mean Maghull residen

Bill Esterson

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said he is concerned that people in Maghull are being redirected to police stations in Huyton and Kirkby to speak to enquiry desk officers.

A sign has been installed outside Maghull Police Station advising people of their nearest enquiry office.

The notice states: Huyton Police Station (open 24 hours a day, seven days a week); Kirkby Police Station (open 8am-10pm Monday-Friday).

Huyton Police Station is 11 miles from Maghull. Kirkby Police Station is 5.6 miles away.

Bill said this was an example of the impact of the Tory-Lib Dem government's cuts on policing here in Sefton.

Bill said: "You can't have the force's budget here in Merseyside slashed by 20% and not see an impact on front line policing.

"We are seeing the early signs of that here in Maghull and Sefton with the closure of the enquiry desks up and down the borough, and that's why people wanting to speak face to face with an officer are being redirected outside the borough.

"The effects 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 than the more affluent areas down south. In other words, the Tories and Lib-Dems have cut Merseyside police overall by 16.6% but have cut Surrey by only 10% yet the need for policing is invariably greater in Merseyside as areas of greater deprivation sadly also attract the most crime.

"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. This week in fact, the authority has announced 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. We have seen crime levels fall in a recession as a result of the great work down by the police over the last few years. But that was also on the back on investment from the last Labour government not least in community policing which often nipped minor crimes and anti-social behaviour in the bud.

"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 on 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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