Items you cannot send by International mail

04_27_4_web

I could not help but be struck by a guide issued by the Royal Mail/Post Office/Parcel Force because surprisingly you can’t send things such as ammunition, controlled drugs and narcotics, explosives, human or animal remains, infectious substances & pathogens and weapons (amongst a much longer list of banned items/substances) by international mail.

What worried me was why on earth would anyone be considering sending such things in the post in first place and would those who are mad enough to think sending them is a good idea be influenced by a leaflet that you can seemingly pick up at any Post Office or Royal mail Sorting Office?

£700,000 to pay off Merseyside Police & Crime Commissoner staff!

I have been looking at the accounts for Jane Kennedy, Merseyside’s Policing and Crime Commissioner for 2012/13 and was staggered to read that £697,211 had been spent during that accounting year on paying people off.

This a huge sum and it makes you wonder just what better use this money could have been put to. Surely using the money to support policing across Merseyside would be a much more positive use of £700,000.

The Liverpool Echo picked it up on this as well I note and it says:-

Row over £700,000 Mersey Police Authority compensation pay-outs

More than £400,000 was given out in redundancy payments to two top executives as part of a shake-up of the police authority by Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy.

The pair, who were awarded £282,000 in “compensation for loss of office”, received in total more than £400,000 between them in “exit packages” shortly after Mrs Kennedy’s election in November last year.

While the former Wavertree MP said streamlining her office staff would mean cost savings in the future, critics questioned the pay-outs, which saw more than £700,000 paid out to the 12 officers who left between November 2012 and March this year.

Around half of the Police Authority staff were made redundant as part of cost-cutting measures, when the body was replaced with the Office of the Police Commissioner.

But Cllr Simon Shaw, who represents the Birkdale Ward and is a member of the Panel, questioned the amounts paid out. He said: “I am absolutely appalled that the Police Commissioner has spent nearly £700,000 in just four months on pay-offs to staff in her office.”

“It’s not quite at BBC levels, but I do feel it is a shocking use of public funds on the part of Jane Kennedy.”

Merseyside Police Stations – Champion article provokes more concern

My posting of a couple of days ago raising concerns about potential Police Station closures on Merseyside was also given the light of day in the Champion newspaper, for which I am grateful.

Whilst I have had an assurance, from Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, that Maghull Police Station, for example, will remain open for the ‘foreseeable future’ this assurance is not necessarily going down well within the Police themselves.

My clear understanding is that the Commissioner’s view of things continues to be challenged within Merseyside Police, indeed I understand that the Champion article of last week led directly to her views being challenged to the extent that the paper has been told by a Police source that the Traffic Police, who are presently housed on the Maghull Police Station site, are to be removed.

Frankly, I am wondering what is going on between the Police and Police Commissioner and why this matter is not fully out in the open.

Sefton Borough – Are our local Police Stations being considered for closure?

Here I am at Maghull Police Station but for how long will I be able to stand outside of it?

Here I am at Maghull Police Station but for how long will I be able to stand outside of it?

Having dragged out of Labour run Sefton Council’s undergrowth information, which they had sat on, about proposals to close Lydiate’s Ambulance Station recently (see previous postings), rumours from seemingly credible sources reached me about the potential closure of Police Stations in the Borough.

A worrying question indeed and when the rumours about such closures seem to be emanating from Merseyside Police it really makes you wonder what on earth is going on.

The Police Station which there seems to be most speculation about is the one in Maghull and despite having been in touch with the Police locally about the rumours I was still not clear about what’s going on beyond being told that an estates review is taking place. In the case of Maghull the very clear community speculation has been around the site being sold to Morrisons who are desperate to enlarge their adjacent store, which is far too small.

Separately, readers of this blog will also recall that when I dragged the Lydiate Ambulance Station closure into the open I openly said that co-location with Maghull Police Station could be a runner because that is where many police cars are maintained and the two sites are within a mile of each other. The response of North West Ambulance Service was that they had never even thought of this and had plumped for a site miles away at Netherton Fire Station instead to place their ‘local’ ambulance.

Anyway back to the Police Stations. It was time to write to Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Labour’s Jane Kennedy, for a clear answer as to what is happening. My first letter to her is below:-

Dear Commissioner,

Re. Future of Maghull Police Station

I write due to continual rumours across the East Parishes part of Sefton that the site of Maghull Police Station is to be sold; indeed such rumours seem to be emanating from Police sources.

I have taken the matter up with our local Police Inspector who in turn has raised the matter for me with his command team.

What I am being told is that whilst there is a current Force Estates Review on going no proposals have been made, let alone decisions being imminent and that any decision such as the future of Maghull Police Station will not be taken without full widespread prior public consultation.

Can you please outline for me what is happening from your perspective as Merseyside Police Commissioner? Obviously, I would appreciate an assurance that Maghull Police Station is not under threat of closure.

Yours Sincerely

Cllr. Tony Robertson

Back comes a reply saying ‘Maghull Police Station is an operational police station and will remain so for the foreseeable future.’ However, she goes on to say that all aspects of Merseyside’s Police budget are under review including ‘maintenance of the current estate’.

Still not too clear to me what this means so I send Jane another polite letter trying to gain a little more information, such as what is her minimum length of time definition of ‘foreseeable’.

A second reply comes back and talk about curt and short! She says ‘foreseeable means as far as she can see at this time’, so no clear answer there then. In response to my request for where I can find further details of any decisions made to date on this matter her answer is ‘Under MPA’, which I assume means Merseyside Police Authority? And finally a clear(ish) answer to my request for a guarantee of public consultation if she does decided to close any Merseyside police stations – She says ‘There will be public consultation regarding estate provision’.

Frankly, I am disappointed in Jane’s answers to my second letter as she seems to be trying to give me, as a fellow elected public representative, as little information as she can, at least that’s how it looks to me. And please bear in mind that during Maghull’s ‘Mad March’ of gun crime, earlier this year, I posted on this very site that she had handled a difficult public meeting on the matter in Lydiate quite well.

Mm, maybe time to reassess her if, as I perceive, she is not being open enough about an issue, such as Police Station closures, which will have massive public concern around it, should it happen.

Gun Crime in Sefton – Bootle really needed this poster – NOT

Just what Bootle needed!!

Just what Bootle needed!!

Driving down Aintree Road in Bootle yesterday and what do I see but two huge posters that could not be more inappropriate in a community with more than its fair share of gun crime!

What do posters like this say about our society when guns are being so overtly promoted. I despair.

Meols Cop Station – Vandalism destroys the work of volunteers

I met by old chum Cllr. David Sumner last Wednesday at a Sefton Council Planning Committee meeting and because we are both interested in railways he told me the sad story of the recent vandalism on the station which is maintained and indeed has been considerably improved by the work of a volunteer group led by David, his wife Pat and Dr Jim Ford.

Cllr. David Sumner

Cllr. David Sumner

Meols Cop is an odd station because whilst it is in Merseyside it is not really much loved by our Integrated Transport Authority Merseytravel. The trains calling at the station are all those of Northern Rail on the Southport – Wigan line.

It seems that a few days ago someone or a group of people simply trashed the station plants and the planters they were in causing a huge amount of damage. I wonder how they would feel if we turned up at their house and trashed their garden.

Knowing David and his fellow volunteers they will try to pull things together again but why should their efforts, on behalf of us all, be ruined by thugs? Stations being adopted by volunteer groups are now the norm; just look at Maghull on the Liverpool Ormskirk Line. There volunteers have transformed the station and won many awards in recent years.

Good luck to the Friends of Meols Cop Station.

Have a look at this link for more information about the Friends of Meols Cop Station:-

http://www.southport.gb.com/southport/news_list/Friends_Of_Meols_Cop_Station-51448953.htm