COUNCILLORS have sought assurances from Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner after new data showed a “worrying increase” in the number of people killed or injured on St Helens roads.

Jane Kennedy faced a grilling from the Police and Crime Panel this week on her priority to work in partnership to improve road safety.

In 2018, 493 people were killed or injured on roads in Merseyside, down from 557 in 2017, a decrease around 11%.

According to figures released by the PCC, 72 people were killed or injured on St Helens’ roads in 2018, up from 59 the previous year.

This mean St Helens is the only area in Merseyside that has seen an increase, with a rise of 22%.

Wirral Conservative councillor David Burgess-Joyce said St Helens is “sticking out quite dramatically.”

St Helens Labour councillor Paul Lynch asked the police and crime commissioner why St Helens has seen an increase when there is a “significant drop” everywhere else.

Ms Kennedy agreed to come back to the panel at a later date to try and understand why St Helens has bucked the trend.

St Helens Labour councillor Michelle Sweeney questioned whether the rise was due to police cuts.

Cllr Sweeney sought assurances that the commissioner’s road safety priority is feeding into Merseyside Police from an operational perspective.

The Town Centre ward councillor also asked for data on how many road safety teams there have been around the St Helens area in this last year.

Cllr Sweeney said: “We know we’ve lost 2,000 police officers on Merseyside.

“I’m not quite sure that there is more increased road safety and I would just like some figures on that please because that’s certainly not the experience we have in St Helens, as we’ve raised consistently about the lack of police presence that we are seeing.”

Ms Kennedy insisted her road safety priority is being put into practice by the force and agreed to bring a more detailed report back to the panel.

“I apologise,” Ms Kennedy told the panel. “I should have got it right on this one.”