MERSEYSIDE police are to start recruiting officers again, after losing 600 bobbies over two years.
Police officer numbers have dropped to just below 4,000, meaning that normal recruitment is being resumed.
The force will recruit around 130 new officers in the next financial year to replace officers who leave through natural wastage.
Merseyside police agreed to appoint 40 new officers at the end of last year, but that was a one-off.
The resumption of its usual recruitment programme is seen as key to maintaining morale and encouraging development in the force.
The news comes as Merseyside’s new police commissioner, Jane Kennedy, is proposing a 2% increase in the police precept element of council tax.
Commissioner Kennedy said she had only two credible options, freezing the precept or the 2% rise.
A nil increase would draw down a £638,000 government grant.
But it would force Merseyside police to cut a further 25 officers over the next three years because it does not increase the police budget by the same amount as a 2% increase. A 2% rise raises £1m annually, and allows Commissioner Kennedy to keep current levels of policing.
The Labour politician said: “I propose to increase the precept by 2%, which enables me to set a balanced budget, maintain police officer numbers and protect frontline services.
“This 2% increase would cost a Band A council tax payer £2.01 a year, which is 4p a week.