You may already be aware of the rise in gun crime across Merseyside. Chief Constable Andy Cooke has warned that his force is facing “unprecedented challenges” after suffering “draconian cuts” to its budget.
The Tories have cut almost £100m from the Merseyside Police budget forcing them to cut over 1000 officers since 2010. It is obvious that cuts of this size reduce the ability of police to undertake preventative policing and make reactive actions their only option. Coupled with the rapid rise in gun crime, the increased terror threat and other major challenges the police are being pushed to breaking point.
The sudden rise in gun crime is shocking, there have now been 14 separate shootings on Merseyside since the start of June. Figures revealed last month by the ECHO showed there were seven shootings in just ten days in June and 50 separate shootings in the region this year.
I have asked the government for a meeting about the growing gun crime problem many times and on Tuesday, Chief Constable Andy Cooke, Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy, a group of Merseyside MPs and I met with the Security Minister to demand the extra funding that Merseyside Police urgently need.
Everyone in the meeting made it very clear that we cannot wait forever to get funding and we also explained our fears that a totally innocent person will be killed if things do not change. Merseyside police are known for their experience in investigating serious crime and gun crime, I know that if the Government provides more funding they will be able to keep our city safe.
The meeting was positive and I am hopeful that the proposal put together by Mr Cooke and Ms Kennedy for a special one-off grant to tackle gun crime will be approved.
While we wait to hear what the Government will do, my fellow Merseyside MP's and I will keep the pressure on to make sure that resources to tackle gun crime remain a priority.