Merseyside Police to cut more than 250 officers

Merseyside Police is to cut more than 250 officers over the next two years as part of cost-cutting plans.

The force has to save more than £61m over the next four years due to reduced government funding.

Merseyside Police Authority (MPA) agreed the cuts package at a meeting on Thursday.

The reduction in officers will be achieved by not replacing those who retire while 18 civilian posts will also be cut.

The authority hopes to avoid compulsory redundancies over the civilian posts.

Few calls

Although no police stations will close, the number of general inquiry offices will be reduced from 34 to 12. The force said most of these get fewer than 10 callers a day and the cuts will enable 38 officers to get back on to the streets.

Neighbourhood Policing will remain, although slightly modified. The Matrix anti-gun and anti-gang crime team will have fewer detectives.

Deputy Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Bernard Lawson said: "Wherever possible we have continued to make changes to our back office functions to ensure officers can be returned to front line policing roles.

"However, with the scale of the cuts it is inevitable that there will be an impact on the service that we are able to provide."

Bill Weightman, chairman of the MPA, said: "Even after this week's decisions, the people of Merseyside should be made aware there remains a need to make an additional £24m of savings over the next two financial years to meet the published requirement within the Comprehensive Spending Review."

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