MERSEYSIDE Police is advancing its fight against serious and organised crime with the creation of a specialised team.

The new Matrix Serious Organised Crime team (MSOC) will build on the framework established by the nationally recognised Matrix team, which was established by Merseyside Police in 2005 to tackle gun and gang crime.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Ward, who is heading up the team, said: “Serious and organised crime can create a vicious downward spiral of fear, intimidation and economic decline in our neighbourhoods.

“It has a direct impact on our communities, whether it be through the drugs and violence that brings misery to our streets, the guns that can seriously injure or kill, cyber crime which can infiltrate people’s homes, or the exploitation of our vulnerable members of the community, particularly children.”

The new team will bring together 1,500 officers and support staff from the existing Matrix team, the Force Intelligence Bureau, Force Crime Operations Unit and Operational Support Unit to create a more “resilient and sophisticated” approach to tackling serious and organised crime.

ACC Ward said: “They will work closely with different partner organisations to ensure that all avenues are explored, and legislation used to disrupt serious and organised crime on Merseyside.”

But ACC Ward said the success of tackling such crime is not just down to the police and partner organisations, but also to the communities across Merseyside.

He added: “We are reliant on our communities if we are able to make an impact on serious and organised crime and make our streets safer for future generations.

“Information from the public is key to our success.”

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said the creation of the specialised team will build and strengthen the already effective work of Matrix.

She said: “This means the force will be in an even stronger position to identify and deal with those involved in gun, gang and drug related crime.

“There will be no hiding place for those who bring misery to our communities, whether it be through the guns that kill and maim, the drugs that blight our neighbourhoods or cyber crime which harms people in their own homes.

“The creation of this new team shows the Chief Constable and I will not rest in our battle to tackle the threat of serious and organised crime and make all the streets of Merseyside safer.”