Statistics released by the Office of National Statistics, today (Thursday, 25 April) show that there has been an increase in reported crime on Merseyside.
In the 12 months to the year ending December 2018, the force has seen an increase of 9.8 per cent in overall recorded crime compared to the national average of 7.1 per cent.
The force has seen decreases in burglary offences with an 11.7 per cent drop in this period, alongside decreases in vehicle offences, theft from person, bicycle theft, shoplifting and criminal damage.
The force has also seen decreases in gun crime for this period of 12.8 per cent alongside a decrease in firearms discharges of 16 per cent.
In line with other forces, Merseyside has seen an increase in violent crime, with a 34 per cent increase for the reporting period. Knife crime has also increased by 32.8 per cent.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Another round of crime statistics and further confirmation that crime – in particular violent crime – is on the increase across England and Wales. Once again, this is proof that this government must find a long-term, sustainable approach to giving our police service the funding it requires.
“The impact of years of cuts, both to policing and to our community safety partners, are being felt by communities across the country with the tragic consequences being reported in the media on a daily basis. It gives me no satisfaction to say that PCCs, Chief Constables and police leaders have long warned of what waited around the corner if austerity continued.
“I attended the Prime Minister’s serious violence summit earlier this month, but came away disappointed with the degree of paralysis that was evident.
“The ONS statistics are clear and show the challenge Merseyside Police face from those intent on carrying a knife. Death and serious injury follow and the public are rightly concerned. I will continue to work with the Force and our critical partners in councils, schools and the health service to try find better ways of working to prevent and deter this violence, despite the funding challenges we all face.”
Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: "Although overall crime in Merseyside has increased, in some cases this is an indicator of increased public confidence locally and nationally in the way we investigate certain offences. But we must also recognise that as resources are reduced across the force, we will continue to prioritise our resources on a daily basis.
"Following the introduction of Operation Castle in 2018, we are continuing our efforts to tackle the issue of burglary across the region and I am pleased to see that this is reflected in the reduction of the numbers of burglaries being reported.
"We acknowledge the reduction in the number of discharges and gun crime offences across Merseyside, which is testament to the strong commitment and resources we, alongside our partners, invest into reducing harm that gun crime causes in our communities. However, given that this week alone we have seen one non-injury discharge, we are not complacent, as we understand the effect these incidents have on people who live in those areas affected by gun crime."
Deputy Chief Constable Kennedy added: “We recognise the increase in overall violence and we know our communities share our concerns about knife crime. I am pleased to say there is a collective community response to reduce knife crime and we have recently received £3.5m funding from the Home Office to assist in our efforts to stop those responsible for knife crime and put them before the courts. Our communities will have seen the recent sentencing of the youth responsible for the manslaughter of Daniel Gee-Jamieson in Belle Vale last year, and we hope that this shows how seriously the force and our partners take offences of this nature, and how we will work tirelessly to bring knife crime offenders to justice.
“We will continue to target our proactive resources in tackling the issues that matter to communities and will always prioritise those offences which cause the greatest harm and distress to victims, while delivering an excellent policing service to the people of Merseyside.
"Crime across England and Wales is a changing landscape and more modern crimes, such as Cyber Crime and Human Trafficking, are also priorities which we are prevalent and complex issues, we are determined to tackle through dedicated and specialist units within Merseyside Police.
"This is combined with the dedication of our officers, who respond to incidents with courage, courtesy and professionalism, which we hope will build upon strong public confidence and keep our communities safe. We recognise that we cannot be complacent and will continue to strive to find the most efficient and cost effective way to deliver policing in Merseyside."