THE Government's response to an online petition urging Ministers to end the cuts to Merseyside Police has been described as "ill-informed at best" by the region's police commissioner Jane Kennedy.

While no decisions have yet been made regarding police budgets for the next four years, Ms Kennedy says Ministers are dismissing local concerns, adding that "this Government either doesn't understand or doesn't care".

In the official response released after the petition hit the 10,000 signatures mark, Ministers said: "What matters is how officers are deployed, not how many of them there are in total."

In her response to the Government, Ms Kennedy urges the public to continue to support the petition, promoted jointly by the Police Commissioner and Merseyside Police Federation and supported by Unison and the GMB trade unions.

She said: “Merseyside Police has been improving its efficiency and effectiveness since 2008 when the financial crisis started. As a result 1,600 police officer and staff posts have been cut from the total workforce in 2010 of 7,300.

“During this time the force has maintained a good service to the public of Merseyside. While some reduction in red tape has been helpful, the scrapping of ‘unnecessary’ targets hasn’t relieved the Force of scrutiny of its performance or an increasing number of inspections.

“It is certainly not clear to me how significant further savings can be delivered from ICT, collaboration and improving workforce capability, as the Home Office suggest. All of these things have been done already.

“The Government is insisting that further cuts of between 25% and 40% of the Force budget will be made over the next four years. This will result in the loss of 1,400 more police jobs, reducing the Force strength by at least 40% since 2010.

“No-one, neither police officers nor members of the public can understand how the government can claim that ‘there is no question that the police still have the resources to do their important work’.

Ms Kennedy added: “Police Community Support Officers, mounted officers, Matrix Serious and Organised Crime unit teams, proceeds of crime and forensic analysts and essential administrative posts are all likely to be cut. Police officers will be taken off the frontline and placed in administrative roles to keep the Force going in a process called ‘de-civilianisation’.

“The police service will change beyond recognition and neighbourhood policing may come to an end. These are changes with which the public of Merseyside do not agree.

“Sadly government Ministers appear to be blind to the likely outcome of their economic policy. If George Osborne continues with his proposed cuts to the police budget he will be implementing a deeply flawed economic policy because cutting police in order to reduce a deficit will, from here on, begin to have a negative effect. 

“He will also be causing great harm to a greatly loved, efficient and effective police force. Either Ministers don’t understand the impact of these cuts or they don’t care.”

The petition will be considered for debate it Parliament if it reaches 100,000 signatures.

  • The petition currently has 11,925 signatures. If you would like to sign it, click here