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:-
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.
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.