Merseyside police chief warns of 1,800 job cuts

Chief Constable Jon Murphy says as many as 800 officers could go

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Police will struggle to combat crime on the streets of Merseyside if the deepest cuts are made, the force's Chief Constable Jon Murphy has warned.

With the comprehensive spending review being announced next week, it is feared the police budget could be reduced by 25%.

This would mean losing 800 police officers and 1,000 civilian staff across the county.

Mr Murphy said: "It will be a bleak scenario if the cuts run that deep."

It is a similar scene in other forces across the North West.

'Extremely concerned'

Greater Manchester Police has announced that 3,100 jobs could be cut, in Lancashire the force could lose up to 1,000 employees and Cheshire Constabulary could see at least 200 civilian jobs going.

In August, Merseyside Police Authority backed a recruitment freeze, meaning the possible loss of 240 officer posts by April.

"The first wave of cuts we can cope with," Mr Murphy said, "But if the cuts go as deep as 25% then I am extremely concerned about the future.

"There will, inevitably, be less police on the beat, and it will be a challenge but we will try our utmost to make sure the people of Merseyside receive the highest level of policing."

He said if the cuts were to go ahead then the force would make their case to the government in the "same way the rest of the public sector will".

But it would be up to the Merseyside Police Authority to appeal if necessary.

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