Merseyside cuts 'put frontline policing at risk'

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Merseyside Police cuts will result in 113 officers being taken away from frontline policing, the police federation has claimed.

The force has said it needs to make cuts of £66m by 2015.

The federation said it believed inquiry desks would close and anti-social behaviour units and crime prevention would be hit by the 20% budget cuts.

Merseyside Police Authority said it was committed to protecting frontline policing.

Ian Leyland, secretary of Merseyside Police Federation, said: "These proposals are to take 113 officers away from response and neighbourhood policing.

'No other way'

"There's more to policing than actually just responding to calls.

"A key part of policing is preventative, intelligence gathering and making sure you are nipping things in the bud.

"If we could offer a suggestion or any alternative to how we could manage the cuts without doing this we would, but there is no other way."

Merseyside Police Authority said: "We remain totally committed to, wherever possible, protecting the front line by making efficiencies in the way we operate across the force by centralising some functions and standardising procedures.

"With regards to police officer numbers, police officers cannot be made redundant and savings will be achieved through the ongoing recruitment freeze.

"We reassure the people of Merseyside that no decisions will be made until the police authority has completed a robust process of considering and debating the options."

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