Margaret Greenwood MP has criticised the government over cuts to police officer numbers on Merseyside since 2010, and she has called on ministers to improve police officer morale.
The Wirral West MP’s intervention came in response to a statement by the government’s minister for policing, Chris Philp, in which he announced that the government had met their target to recruit over 20,000 police officers since 2019 in England and Wales.
However, Margaret Greenwood told the House of Commons that, on Merseyside, there are actually more than 300 fewer police officers now than in 2010 when the Conservatives came to power.
Government figures show that Merseyside had 4,516 full-time equivalent police officers in 2010, but that as of last month, it had 4,171 officers.
Margaret Greenwood also highlighted the concerning findings of a recent survey of police officers on Merseyside, carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales, which showed that 17% of respondents intended to resign from the police service either within the next two years or as soon as they can.
She asked what steps the government intended to take to improve the morale of police officers, boost retention and boost the numbers of officers on Merseyside.
Margaret Greenwood MP said, “The government talks about increasing police officer numbers, but they fail to mention that they have cut numbers drastically since they came to power in 2010. Those cuts have had an impact on policing in Wirral West.
“Back in 2010 Merseyside had more than 4,500 full time equivalent officers. By 2019, that figure was down to just under 3,400.
“Now, despite government announcements, there are still only around 4,200, leaving Merseyside with more than 300 fewer officers than in 2010.
“The recent survey of police officers on Merseyside, carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales, shows that morale among officers is low, with 17% of respondents saying they intend to resign from the police service either within the next two years or as soon as they can.
“Shockingly the survey also found that 94% of respondents from Merseyside Police said that they do not feel that the police are respected by the government.
“39% of respondents from Merseyside Police said that they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the training that they are given.
“That is the true record of Conservative governments when it comes to the policing workforce.
“The government needs to make sure that they retain officers as well as recruit more. They must also take steps to boost morale among the workforce and make sure that police officers feel valued.
“Police officers do very important and often dangerous work. They are vital to the safety of our communities. Cost-cutting exercises by the Conservative government have real life consequences for people and the police officers who serve them.
“We need a Labour government that will invest in the police and put more officers in our communities.”