Police jobs to be axed

drugsram'Police officers raid a house suspected of being used to grow and deal drugs
drugsram'Police officers raid a house suspected of being used to grow and deal drugs

MORE than 250 police jobs are set to go across the Merseyside force in the next two years - but it is not yet known how hard St Helens will be hit.

Cost-cutting changes approved last week by the Merseyside Police Authority (MPA) will see 254 police officer posts go in the next two years, as well as 18 staff posts.

Bosses say the reduction in numbers will largely be managed through retirements, combined with a recruitment freeze, in the hope that - via redeployment opportunities - compulsory redundancies will be avoided.

The cuts will help Merseyside Police to save almost £12.5m.

Deputy Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Bernard Lawson, said: “We have done everything in our power to protect front line policing and we remain totally committed to providing an excellent service. Wherever possible we have continued to make changes to our back office functions to ensure that 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.”

He added: “We will continue to carry out thorough and professional investigations into crimes that are committed. No police stations will close but, as part of the cost saving proposals, the MPA has agreed a number of changes to General Enquiry Office (GEO) opening times across the force area. The number of GEOs across the force will reduce from 34 to 12.”

Locally, the St Helens Police Station GEO will continue to open 24 hours a day and the Newton-le-Willows Police Station GEO will open from 8am-10pm - although only six days a week.

Councillor Bill Weightman, chair of the MPA, said any decision would reflect individual community needs.

He added: “Our local communities are at the heart of all Merseyside Police Authority decisions.”

“I can reassure people the changes we have agreed to this week are the result of a robust process of considering and debating the options.

“Having said that, we have been in the unfortunate position of balancing what matters most to the people of Merseyside with the need to make £61.5m savings.”