The force is currently recruiting 500 new police officers by the end of March next year as part of Operation Uplift, the flagship of the government, which has promised to recruit 20,000 new police officers nationwide.
The new police officers in Merseyside could end up working in call centers and administrative functions as the force faces further budget cuts in the coming years.
The Merseyside police force is recruiting hundreds of new officers, but may also have to lay off civilian staff at the same time.
Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy told the panel that decivilization was “an abomination” and “a very serious breach of public trust” after the promise of “more bobbies on the force” formed a large part of the government’s 2019 election campaign.
The region’s Police and Crime Committee heard on Thursday that this could lead to a process of “decivilization,” with civilian police personnel being laid off and police officers being assigned to their back-office roles instead.
At the same time, however, Merseyside police believe they will have to make cuts of £28 million over the next four years.
Simon Shaw, a member of Sefton Council, added: “In order to benefit from a national headline, a kind of populist policy, of more bobbies in the department, we in Merseyside will end up with a less efficient service.
said Ms Kennedy: “We are now facing the prospect of police officers in detention suites, call centers and administrative roles, after decades of taking them out and putting them back on the streets where the public wants them.
“There is a clear conflict with the government’s desire to put more police officers on the streets who do their jobs where the public sees them and actually feel safer because they see them.
Ms. Kennedy added, however, that government ministers “understand the situation and feel very challenged in this regard,” which raises hopes that a solution could be achieved.
The force expects its core government subsidy to remain the same and that the Council’s tax bill will increase by 2% per year, while wage inflation alone is expected to be 2.5% per year.
However, Merseyside Police will need substantial financial support if it is to avoid the predicted cuts, which do not include the additional expenditure resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
John Riley, Chief Financial Officer of the Police and Crime Commissioner, said salary increases meant an £8 million increase in costs that was not funded by additional revenue.
Riley also warned that Merseyside’s local tax base could fall in the coming years as the pandemic would cause more people to fall behind or claim reduced tax rates, leading to a “million pound” deficit in police revenue.