Over the last 18 months, Merseyside has witnessed an alarming surge in gun crime that’s resulted in 100 shootings and 5 murders. This year, gun crime has soared to a level that’s 18% higher than the same time last year.
Merseyside Police have gone to great lengths to try to tackle this, focussing considerable resources and efforts into targeted operations that have resulted in numerous arrests and seizures of weapons.
But since 2010, they’ve been forced to cut £87m from their budgets and 1000 officers and staff. And now they’re expected to cut another £18m putting the jobs of 540 more officers and staff at risk.
This week there was yet another shooting in Speke
I have been putting pressure on the Government for months to provide more resources to Merseyside Police to help them respond proactively to this escalation in firearm crime. I met with a Minister from the Home Office who assured me that a bid from Merseyside Police for extra resources would be viewed sympathetically by the Government. Despite this, the bid was rejected without explanation.
This week, I asked the Home Secretary if she would meet me and other Merseyside MPs to discuss why a recent bid for extra resources to deal with this escalating crisis, a bid that the her Department told Merseyside Police to submit, was turned down.
Unbelievably, the Minister responding to my question attempted to suggest that the Government had provided support, despite the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police saying the bid for help has been rejected.
I also called for a debate during Business Questions to increase the pressure on the Government to provide the extra resources Merseyside Police urgently need.
It’s vital that the Government act now to help combat this issue. I’ll continue to put pressure on them in Parliament until they do.