Merseyside Police

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Merseyside Police
Agency overview
Preceding agency
Employees6,451 [1]
Annual budget£401.3 million[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionMerseyside, England, UK
Map of Merseyside Police's jurisdiction
Size250 square miles (650 km2)
Legal jurisdictionEngland & Wales
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by
Constables3,909 (of which 214 are special constables)[3]
Police Community Support Officers237[1]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive
  • Serena Kennedy, Chief Constable
Basic Command Units0 (Functional Structure)
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Merseyside Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing Merseyside in North West England. The service area is 647 square kilometres with a population of around 1.5 million. As of September 2017 the service has 3,484 police officers, 1,619 police staff, 253 police community support officers, 155 designated officers and 208 special constables.[4] The force is led by Chief Constable Serena Kennedy.


The service came into being in 1974 when Merseyside was created, and is a successor to the Liverpool and Bootle Constabulary (itself formed in 1967 by a merger of the Liverpool City Police with the Bootle Borough Police), along with parts of Cheshire Constabulary and Lancashire Constabulary. A proposal to merge the force with the Cheshire Constabulary to form a strategic police force was made by the Home Secretary on 6 February 2006[5] but later abandoned.

Merseyside maintained in 2018 it could lose 300 officers, reducing the force to 3,172. This would be a 31% reduction since 2010 when there were 4,616 officers.[6]

Chief constables[edit]

Officers killed in the line of duty[edit]

The Police Roll of Honour Trust and Police Memorial Trust list and commemorate all British police officers killed in the line of duty. Since its establishment in 1984, the Police Memorial Trust has erected 50 memorials nationally to some of those officers.

The following officers of Merseyside Police are listed by the Trust as having died during the time of their service, since the force was established in 1974:[14]

  • PC Francis Knight, 1974 (killed in a motorcycle crash returning home from duty in stormy weather)
  • PC Raymond Davenport, 1981 (fatally injured when dragged by a stolen car while attempting to arrest the driver; posthumously awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct)
  • PC Norman Harold Jones, 1983 (killed when struck by a car while at the scene of a motorway accident)
  • PC James William Byers, 1983 (killed when struck by a car while at the scene of a motorway accident)
  • PC William Marshall, 1986 (died as a result of internal injuries received during rioting in 1981)
  • PC Mark Paul Shelton, 1987 (fatally injured in a vehicle collision on a police motorcycle course)
  • Sergeant Douglas Charles Beggs, 1987 (killed in a vehicle collision leaving the Mersey Tunnel while going off duty)
  • PC John Shevlin, 1997 (died following two years in a coma after his police car crashed)
  • PC Gary Clarke, 2001 (killed when he was struck by a car while cycling home from work)
  • PC David Thomas Shreeve, 2005 (killed in a motorway collision on a police motorcycle training course)
  • PC Neil Doyle, 2014 (killed off duty during police Christmas party after an assault in Liverpool city centre)[15]
  • PC David Phillips, 2015 (died as a result of internal injuries received when hit by a stolen car he was attempting to stop in Wallasey)
  • PC Paul Briggs, 2017 (killed due to a car travelling on the wrong side of the road which struck his motorcycle as he reported to duty in 2015, receiving extensive injuries from which he never recovered)


Merseyside Police is overseen by the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). As of May 2021, the elected PCC is Emily Spurrell. The PCC is scrutinised by the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel, made up of elected councillors from the local authorities in Merseyside. Before November 2012, the Merseyside Police Authority was the police governance.


Until 2017, Merseyside Police was divided into five Basic Command Units (BCUs), one for each of the Local Authority areas that make up Merseyside. The BCUs were,

In 2017, following a force restructure the Basic Command Unit structure was disbanded in favour of a functional structure.


There are many different departments that makeup Merseyside Police. These include the Matrix Disruption Team and, formerly, the Anti-Social Behaviour Taskforce. Former Chief Constable Andy Cooke was concerned about budget cuts. He stated, "The impact of the proposed changes on police officer pensions [forcing police forces to pay pensions out of their budget] cannot, and should not, be underestimated. It is incumbent on me to ensure that those who will make the final decisions in relation to the pension changes understand the crippling impact these changes will have on policing".[6]

Matrix Disruption Team[edit]

The Matrix Disruption Team, led by a chief inspector, consists of syndicates made up of inspectors, sergeants and constables. Each syndicate works with other Matrix units to provide the force with a level two response to gun crime, faction-based criminality and cash-in-transit robberies. These officers are specifically trained to deal with a variety of disorder situations, ranging from small protests to large-scale crowd disorder.

The Matrix team used vans with the slogan "Matrix - A force to be reckoned with" on the left of the vehicle.

Public order is one of the main functions of the department and therefore all officers receive the required training and are subjected to rigorous training scenarios. Matrix has a number of baton gun trained specialist officers: two sergeants and ten constables.[citation needed] The Matrix team also have specialist search teams and rope access teams.

Mounted Section[edit]

Dog and Mounted Section building on Greenhill Road, Allerton

Merseyside Police Mounted Section has a long history. It is the oldest Provincial Mounted section, formed in 1886 as part of Liverpool City Police. It is an integral part of the Operational Support Unit, and is based at Greenhill Road, Allerton, Liverpool.

The mounted section is an operational specialist section with a staff of one inspector, two sergeants, 14 constables, six civilian stable hands and 14 horses.[citation needed]

The section provides neighbourhoods with an alternative response to reduce the incidents of crime and disorder, using an intelligence-led approach, a tactical option in relation to public order & major incidents, as well as high visibility patrolling at football matches, rugby matches, race meetings and other special events.

Dog Section[edit]

Each area within the force has its own allocation of dogs and handlers who work alongside the neighbourhood patrol section.

There are currently 70 general-purpose dogs in the force area, 16 of these have extended training for deployment alongside colleagues from the firearms department.[citation needed]

Merseyside Police, like most forces, rely on the German Shepherd Dog for their general purpose police dog work.[citation needed] All general-purpose work involves the dogs' outstanding sense of smell, several hundred times superior to that of a human. The dog handler takes advantage of the dogs' natural abilities to search for and detect human scent.

The force also utilises both English Springer Spaniels and Labradors for their specialist detection roles; drugs, firearms, explosives and cadaver. These are the preferred breeds as they have extremely high energy levels and are able to search for long periods. The force currently operates 29 specialist dogs to carry out these detection roles.[citation needed]

Air Support Group (closed)[edit]

Today, all air support to policing in England and Wales is provided by the National Police Air Service (NPAS).

Prior to this, the Merseyside Police Air Support Group was set up in late 1989 in response to an increase in the number of high-speed vehicle pursuits that were occurring after burglaries had been committed outside of the force area. The unit was disbanded in July 2011 amid budget cuts with the loss of its helicopter and Woodvale base.

The early days saw the unit based at Liverpool Airport, but due to rising costs, the unit moved to RAF Woodvale and purpose-built accommodation.

Prior to the establishment of NPAS, Merseyside shared Air Support with Cheshire, Greater Manchester, North Wales and Lancashire as the North West Regional Air Support Group.

Anti-Social Behaviour Taskforce (closed)[edit]

The former Anti-Social Behaviour Taskforce dealt with people who were alleged to be creating anti-social behaviour. They also made raids for drugs and known offenders who were alleged to be lowering the standard of life for the community.

The unit was initially known as Axis, but the use of this name was dropped around the end of 2007. It was publicly announced on 9 July 2010 that as a result of budget reductions, this department would be closed[16] and they disbanded in early 2011.



Volvo V70 pictured in 2009.

Merseyside Police has a wide fleet of vehicles. Scientific Support vehicles are equipped with a high-intensity roof-mounted light which allows forensic examinations to be completed in all lighting conditions. In late 2012, Merseyside Police took delivery of three OVIK Pangolin armoured public order vehicles,[17][18] as used by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. These vehicles will be used from public order to counter-terrorist operations.


As of 2020 Merseyside Police are one of the few British police forces to have retained the traditional white shirt and black tie or chequered cravat as part of the everyday patrol uniform. Officers on foot patrol wear the custodian helmet in the comb style or bowler hat. A fluorescent overcoat is usually worn at night or when high visibility is required, otherwise a black waterproof overcoat with reflective markings is worn. Officers travelling in vehicles wear the flat cap or bowler and tend not to wear an overcoat. All officers are provided with stab vests.

Officers in the specialist units wear tactical uniforms of the sort often used by everyday patrol officers in other forces, including combat trousers and black wicking polo shirts. Mounted Section officers also have a full dress uniform for ceremonial occasions.


Merseyside Police is a partner in the following collaborations:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Budget Book
  2. ^ "Merseyside | Home Office". Archived from the original on 6 August 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2009.
  3. ^ "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2013". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales: 30 September 2017". GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Police mergers outlined by Clarke". BBC News. 26 February 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  6. ^ a b Police chiefs warn of fewer officers after Treasury shrinks budgets further The Guardian
  7. ^ "Temporary Chief Constable takes up the baton". Merseyside Police website. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  8. ^ "Merseyside Police chief constable Sir Jon Murphy to retire". BBC News. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Merseyside Police's new chief constable Jon Murphy faces up to budget challenge". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Merseyside Police Welcomes New Chief Constable Andy Cooke". Merseyside Police website. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Police and Crime Panel confirm Merseyside Police's next Chief Constable". Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner website. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Andy Cooke to be Merseyside Police's new Chief Constable". BBC News. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Serena Kennedy starts her new job as Chief Constable of Merseyside Police - the first woman to hold the role". 12 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Police Roll of Honour Trust".
  15. ^ "Home News UK News Court case PC Neil Doyle murder: Ex-Liverpool FC player charged with perverting course of justice". Siddle, John. Mirror. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Merseyside police could lose up to 800 officers in budget slash". Liverpool Echo. 9 July 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  17. ^ "Armoured vehicles designers, armoured vehicle manufacturers, Armoured Vehicles, Police Equipment, special vehicles, specialist vehicles, commercial vehicles and truck bodies. Coachbuilders and armourers".
  18. ^ "TMV - a new dimension in all-terrain mobility from oil exploration to defence - Home".

External links[edit]