1. ITV Report

Commissioner: Pay more for police or risk 125 officers

Merseyside Police Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

Merseyside's Police Commissioner is warning people face paying more money for policing - or risk losing 125 officers.

The government has announced a £1billion boost for the service nationwide - but council tax payers will foot most of the bill.

Jane Kennedy says she will reluctantly ask residents if they are prepared to pay more.

"Ministers are forcing me and my counterparts in other areas to ask local people, who are already heavily burdened, to contribute more towards policing. My hands are tied. If we don't take this opportunity to raise the precept then Merseyside Police will be even further stretched, there will be even fewer officers patrolling our streets and ultimately the safety of our communities will be put in greater jeopardy."

– Jane Kennedy, Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner
Jane Kennedy Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/PA Images

Merseyside Police has lost 1,100 officers in the last eight years because of cuts to the service.

The Commissioner says Chief Constable Andy Cooke has told her the force is now more stretched than at any other time in his career.

Mrs Kennedy said she must ask for the full allowed increase from council tax payers to be able to balance the budget for the next two years.

She added that she would also be using some of the financial reserves saved for a rainy day because "the rain is falling."

"The government have stepped away from supporting our police service. I hope local people will not do the same."

– Jane Kennedy, Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner