Photo: Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy
Merseyside Police Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy, said: “Budget forecasts provided by the force to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary show that we expect to lose a further 2382 people (officers, support staff and PCSTOs) from the organisation in the next four years.
“Since 2010 we have already lost 1373 people (805 officers, 454 police staff and 114 PCSTOs) from the force and the impact of the cuts in the next four years on our ability to continue to provide an effective policing service is immense.
“In the last five years we have worked hard, whilst making required cuts to our budget, to protect the frontline and ensure that we provide the policing service our public rightly expects.
“Due to the fact that the majority of our budget (85 per cent) pays for staffing costs we are left with the unenviable task of finding the majority of savings through reductions in jobs. Added to this is the fact that the force receives a large part of its funding from the government. Some other forces budgets receive a greater proportion of funding from council tax and local funding, so when central government funding is reduced, it is forces like Merseyside that are disproportionately affected.
“Police officer posts by 2019 will have reduced by 1116, which equated to a reduction of 25 per cent since 2010. Due to the fact that police officers working conditions mean they can’t be made redundant the majority of posts have been lost through retirement, or officers leaving their jobs for other careers. The force has also had freezes on recruitment over the last five years and this will be a pattern which will continue in the years to come.
“The brunt of the cuts will be borne by support staff and PCSTOs. By 2019, it is predicted that 1350 support staff posts will have been lost, which equates to 59 per cent of support staff. Whilst 366 PCSTOs will have been lost, which equates to 78 per cent.
“Both support staff and PCSTOs play a vital role in the organisation enabling police officers to do the job they joined to do and protect the communities they serve. Support staff carry out essential roles in call handling, crime scene investigations and preparation of court reports, whilst at the same time ensuring that essential administration is carried out, which frees officers up to carry out their policing duties.
“At the same time PCSTOs who first joined the force in 2002 have played an important role in community engagement, building up strong relationships in their local areas and becoming the eyes and ears of the local communities and the neighbourhood policing teams they support.
“We have made a lot of tough decisions in the last five years, but the hardest decisions are yet to come. We are acutely aware that these decisions will have a huge impact not only on the force, but on people’s livelihoods.
“When I became Chief Constable I had a force of 7276 people, by 2019 the budgetary forecasts predict that Merseyside Police will consist of just 4444 people, and we will have lost a staggering 40 per cent of our workforce.
“There is no way you can take 41 per cent of the workforce out of any organisation’s budget and expect it to deliver the same quality of service.
“But what I can say, because I have seen it time and time again over the last five years, is that the quality and professionalism of the officers and staff who work for Merseyside Police will always come to the fore and we will endeavour to provide the best possible service we can with the officers and staff we have left.”
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