Chief reporter Ben Rossington speaks to Jon Murphy about being Chief Constable in an era of cuts
MERSEYSIDE’S Chief Constable says his force needs “new blood” as he revealed he has been unable to appoint a single new police officer in almost two years.
Jon Murphy said the lack of recruitment in Merseyside Police was “a big problem for the future”, but is hopeful of finally getting some new people in by the end of this year.
In an exclusive interview with The Liverpool Post, Mr Murphy spoke of the different challenge he faces as Chief Constable to that of his predecessor Bernard Hogan-Howe, now commander at the Met in London.
And he admitted the scale of public sector cuts had been a surprise, and would definitely have an impact on front-line policing on Merseyside.
From his office at Canning Place, overlooking the Albert Dock, Mr Murphy also warned that the cuts will send more people into poverty and inevitably lead to a rise in crime.
Mr Murphy said: “I came in waiting for an election with bated breath, knowing whoever got into power would have to tackle the deficit.
“We knew there would be a significant challenge whoever got in, but I don't think anyone anticipated it would be anywhere like it is.”
The Chief Constable has seen his force reduced by more than 350 officers since he took the reins in February, 2010 – after a brief spell away from Merseyside as the National Serious & Organised Crime co-ordinator for the Association of Chief Police Officers – and a further 500 may go by April, 2015.
Mr Murphy, 53, joined the police as a cadet straight from school and celebrated 37 years with the force last week.
He said: “If you look at Bernard’s tenure, he had the opportunity to do lots of new things with additional resources and new money for every year.
“He helped grow the force by 466 officers, and that allowed him to expand and do things not done before. I have got the exact opposite.
“Now the job is about how will we save money, how will we continue to deliver with less people and less money and that is going to remain the case for the full five years of my tenure and possibly beyond that for my successor, given the Autumn Statement of another two years of cuts likely.”
Mr Murphy – a married father-of-two – said his next three years will be about trying to take money out of the budget in a way that has minimum impact on the front line – and the service to the public.