Households across Merseyside will pay 5% more in council tax bills to fund more police officer posts.

Merseyside Police Authority (MPA) said the above-inflation rise was needed to offset a "disappointing" settlement from the government.

It awarded the authority a 2.6% grant increase, which it said was below the England average for forces.

The 2009/10 police budget will mean an extra ?4.47 a year on council tax bills for band A properties.

More officers

An extra 79 operational police officers will be deployed in the coming year because of the extra cash, MPA said.

The 32 new officers and 47 redeployed from office functions will mainly become firearms or schools officers.

Councillor Bill Weightman, MPA chair, said balancing the budget - which in recent years has had a ?12m deficit - took a great deal of hard work.

"This budget has identified a number of savings that will address existing budgetary pressures but will allow investment in new posts, which is quite an achievement in the current climate," he added.

BBC Liverpool