Policing on Merseyside officially started in 1836.
Policing on Merseyside officially started in 1836, when the Liverpool Watch Committee formed Liverpool Borough Police, which later became Liverpool City Police in 1880 when Liverpool was designated a city. However, today's force dates back to 1974 when Merseyside County Council was formed. Liverpool City Police had already merged with Bootle County Borough Police in 1967 to become Liverpool and Bootle Constabulary. Then, in April 1974, the constabulary merged with other borough forces in Birkenhead, Wallasey, Southport and St Helens to become the metropolitan force ‘Merseyside Police’.
Horses were introduced in 1886, and at first they were used mostly for pulling wagons. Cars began to replace the old horse-drawn patrol wagons in 1932, but horses are still one of our best assets in crowd control.
After decades of using whistles, shouting and tapping sticks on the ground, two-way radios revolutionised our communications in the 1930s. Today, the vehicles we use are equipped with on-board computers that not only help us to get to an incident more quickly but allow us to check various facts and criminal records on the way.
In 1954, we began to use dogs to track down suspects. While the dog section is busier than ever, today they are kept busy sniffing out drugs, explosives, firearms and even cash.
Women were first recruited into the force during the first world war, but were not given powers of arrest until 1947. Today around a quarter of our officers are women, and they have the same duties and responsibilities as their male colleagues.
The Firearms Team was added to our resources in 1992 in response to the rising level of crimes involving guns. In 2005 we created a new unit, Matrix, dedicated to tackling gun crime at all levels from education and community involvement to armed responses when necessary.