You may already be aware of the rise in gun crime across Merseyside. Chief Constable Andy Cookehas warned that his force is facing “unprecedented challenges” after suffering “draconian cuts” to its budget.
The Tories have cutalmost £100m from the Merseyside Policebudgetforcing 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, theincreased 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 been14 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 50separate shootings in the region this year.
I have asked the government for a meeting about the growing gun crime problemmany 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.
Everyonein the meeting made it very clear that we cannot wait forever to get fundingand we also explained ourfears 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 providesmore funding they will be able to keep our city safe.
The meeting was positive and I am hopefulthat the proposal put together by Mr Cooke and Ms Kennedy fora special one-off grant to tackle gun crimewill be approved.
While we wait to hear what the Government will do, my fellow Merseyside MP’s and I willkeep the pressure onto make sure that resources to tackle gun crime remain a priority.