WIRRAL'S police superintendent says the fight against organised crime is being won but is far from over.

Supt Matthew Moscrop has now urged the public to continue to play its part in helping the force tackle issues including use of guns, knife crime and bike thefts.

In an interview at Manor Road Police Station in Liscard this week, Supt Moscrop told the Globe: "If you look back to last year and the tough time we had around serious organised crime - we had the firearms discharges and murders of Jackie Rutter and Ellie Edwards - it was a terrible time, really challenging and concerning for the community.

"My focus this year, with the support of Merseyside Police, was to do whatever we can to prevent or, at least, reduce the criminal use of firearms in Wirral.

"We're into November and there hasn't been a firearms discharge in Wirral this year.

"We've had successful convictions in connection with the Ellie Edwards murder and an investigation continues in connection with Jackie Rutter.

"But, there's been a really big impact on people involved in serious organised crime, in terms of the amount of people who have been brought to justice or on bail or subject of gang injunctions.

"With that being the focus of the year, where we stand now is a really good place to be.

"That's not to say everything's done; it's not.

"There are still tensions between gangs, there are still people that are engaged in serious organised criminal activity."

Supt Moscrop, who has been in Merseyside Police for 26 years and took over as superintendent for the borough last year, was keen to stress that the gang-related crime is not just restricted to one area of the borough.

Wirral Globe: Wirral superintendent Matthew MoscropWirral superintendent Matthew Moscrop (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest)

He explained: "There are long-standing issues between gangs that have been based or drawn from the Beechwood and Woodchurch estates.

"However, those people in the gangs aren't just from those estates or just operate on those estates.

"We are aware that there are long-standing challenges and support is needed, which is why we have the Evolve approach which has helped us get rid of a lot of the troublemakers.

"We have got funding from the Home Office to make those communities safer and are working very closely with the council and housing associations to help those communities.

"An awful lot of focus, resource, time and money is going into the fight against serious organised crime.

"The signs are very good and the support from the community has been brilliant.

"People have seen what's happened over the last year and are keener now to let us know their concerns and what is going on in their communities.

"However, we need to do more, as there are some people in the community who aren't happy to come forward but we need them to work, through others, to help us address those issues.

Wirral Globe: Wirral superintendent Matthew MoscropWirral superintendent Matthew Moscrop (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest)

"When we talk about serious organised crime, anti-social behaviour can, itself, create the conditions which allows those things to flourish.

"By addressing those basic issues you get the community support and get on the side of those who are engaged in anti-social behaviour and may become exploited to get involved in serious organised crime.

"The more we can get those people involved in working with local organisations, the better."

A number of stabbings have occurred recently across Wirral and Spt Moscrop agreed it was a worry.

He said: "Any use of a knife or threat of a use of a knife is a concern. Across Merseyside, there has been a reduction of about 15% in knife crime or knife-enabled serious violence.

"There are positive signs. But there are still concerns that, in some groups, it may be culturally-acceptable to carry a knife.

"We are tackling this with serious violence reduction orders, using additional powers to search those people who have been carrying knives, and that is helping.

"We've also identified hotspot areas, locations of greatest concern.

"In Birkenhead, for example, there are a couple of locations where we have put in additional focus and patrols. The increased visibility and activity has helped.

"One of the key challenges we've had around robberies, burglaries and other thefts has been the targeting of bikes. Some of these are worth a lot of money.

"We have done a lot of work to increase the number of people registering the bikes.

"There is a database that we can use, if we stop a person with a bike, to check if it's stolen and can identify it on there.

"We have funded thousands of kits to help us do this and our working with local retailers. Christmas is a major time for buying bikes. A lot of the retailers are on board with us.

"Our advice to people is 'if you've got a bike that's worth few quid, register it'. We'll be checking them.

"Those checks will help us deter people from stealing them and will give us a good chance of getting property back if stolen.

"So, overall, the trajectory in our fight against crime is right.

"We just need to keep it going and for the public to report incidents of crime to us."