There are currently just under 3,500 police officers in Merseyside Police, serving and protecting a population of nearly 1.5 million, including communities here in St Helens.
In 2010, this figure stood at 4,500, meaning that eight years of austerity on this Tory Government’s watch has resulted in 1,000 fewer officers across Merseyside – a drop of 22 per cent.
Ministers said that cutting the number of officers would not affect crime rates, but this has categorically not been t…he case, with total recorded crime in Merseyside up 25 per cent over the same period.
It’s particularly concerning that crimes involving violence against the person are up 129 per cent and sexual offences have risen by 186 per cent.
But new figures that I obtained from Ministers in a series of parliamentary questions show staff cuts and the resulting pressure on police officers has also damaged Merseyside Police behind the scenes.
The answers revealed that Merseyside Police’s “wastage rate” – which is the number of officers leaving as a percentage of the force of – has increased from 4.7 per cent to 8 per cent between 2010 and 2017, an increase of 3.3 per cent compared to a national increase of just 1.6 per cent over the same period.
And Ministers could not say how many officers would be in Merseyside Police in the next five years in a refusal to rule out further cuts, meaning that numbers could fall further as crime continues to rise.
Police officers in Merseyside are working incredibly hard under difficult circumstances, but all the Government has to offer is cuts and a hollowing out of staff as wastage rates continue to climb.