Gun crime in Sefton – Let’s look at some facts and some opinions

Yesterday and last Friday I posted about the 4 latest shooting incidents in Sefton, but how bad is gun crime in the Borough? A Freedom of Information request to Merseyside Police has released the following statistics. Hold on to your hat they are not pleasant reading!

How many gun discharges have there been in Sefton since January 2010?

Answer:- 39 + 3 on Thursday 14th March and another one on 17th March = 43!

2010 – 5, 2011 – 13, 2012 – 17, 2013 – 4 but add another 4 to that since I made the FOI request so it is 8 and we are only half way thorough March!

Which communities have the gun discharges been in?

Answer:-

Bootle – 23 + 1 on Thursday 14th March = 24
Netherton – 4
Litherland – 4
Maghull – 4 + 2 on Thursday 14th March & 1 on 17th March = 7
Southport – 2
Crosby – 2
Aintree – 1

Bootle is clearly and by a long way the Sefton community with the biggest gun crime problem and if you add together the Bootle, Netherton and Litherland figures plus 1 of the Crosby shootings above you end up with 33 gun discharges in the Bootle Parliamentary Constituency.

But clearly the problem is spreading. Take a community like Maghull; it is leafy commuter land with historically low crime levels. However, it has always suffered from being the victim of travelling criminals so far as burglary in particular is concerned. The Merseyside Police Neighbourhood Unit of Maghull covers Lydiate, Aintree Village, Melling and Sefton & Lunt Villages as well as Maghull. Virtually out of nowhere this area of Sefton, which is known as the East Parishes, with vast parts of it being semi or completely rural, has seen an exposition of gun crime with 7 shootings in the past 13 months.

Possible causes that have been put to me by concerned residents are:-

• The East Parishes are in effect surrounded on 3 sides by communities/Policing Units with much higher crime rates i.e. Bootle, North Liverpool and Kirkby.
• The character of the East Parishes has been changing with some of its predominately private housing stock now being privately rented due to difficulties selling during the economic downturn and the rise in investment properties. This, some fear, leads to a more transient population that can in some cases have less of a commitment to the East Parishes communities. Some residents seemingly link a small minority of privately rented properties to crime.
• This part of Sefton has extremely low levels of social housing. However, some residents point to concerns about social housing, at times, being allocated to problem families from elsewhere who bring criminal and anti-social problems with them.
• From an education perspective the East Parishes has always had high quality, high achieving schools although many of the youngsters attending those schools do come from a far wider area due to educational attainment problems in places like Kirkby, North Liverpool and Bootle. This, at face value positive angle, is pointed to at times as being a problem but such has been the case (although growing as a proportion) since I was at school in Maghull in the late 60’s and 70’s.
• There has always been local concern, acknowledged to me as being an issue by previous Police Inspectors with responsibility for the area, that those who have made money from crime have been attracted to live in the East Parishes because of its good quality housing stock, parks and gardens, schools and its semi rural nature.

My third question was to ask for a list of the roads in which the gun discharges took place and you can imagine it’s a long list but here goes:-

Year Street Area
2013 Marian Square Netherton
2013 Rufford Avenue Maghull
2013 Daley Road Litherland
2013 Litherland Road Bootle
2012 Monfa Road Bootle
2012 Hall Lane Maghull
2012 Cullen Avenue Bootle
2012 Unknown / Not recorded Bootle
2012 Akenside Street Bootle
2012 Stanley Road Bootle
2012 Wadham Road Bootle
2012 Partington Avenue Bootle
2012 Silcocks Field Bootle
2012 Harrops Croft Netherton
2012 Pembroke Road Bootle
2012 Abbotsford Road Crosby
2012 Shakespeare Street Southport
2012 Orrell Lane Bootle
2012 Rimrose Road Bootle
2012 Sefton Lane Maghull
2012 Hawthorne Road Bootle
2011 Ford Close Bootle
2011 Bedford Road Bootle
2011 Park Crescent Southport
2011 Wango Lane Aintree
2011 Amos Avenue Litherland
2011 Violet Road Litherland
2011 Bedford Road Bootle
2011 Croxteth Avenue Litherland
2011 Stanley Road Bootle
2011 Glover Place Bootle
2011 Ford Close Bootle
2011 Shelley Street Bootle
2011 Wakefield Road Netherton
2010 Monfa Road Bootle
2010 Warton Street Bootle
2010 Crosby Road North Crosby
2010 Harrops Croft Netherton
2010 Glendower Road Bootle

The 5 most recent shootings do not appear on the above list as they happened after it was produced for me. For completeness they are:-

2013 Parkbourn – Maghull
2013 Fernbank – Maghull
2013 Moorland Road – Maghull
2013 Timon Avenue – Bootle
2013 Fernbank (2nd shooting) – Maghull

My final question asked for the ages of those involved in the various shootings but Merseyside Police have not really been able to supply me with much information here. I asked for it because you get the impression that gun crime these days is something very much associated with those say under the age of 30, but evidence of this is clearly sketchy.

So there you have it; my attempt as a local resident (of 44 years) and councillor (for 28 years) to try to get behind the headlines of Sefton’s gun crime problems that are now a big headache for Jane Kennedy our new Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner and her Merseyside Police Force.

And one final thought; why is it the case that in years gone by disputes between those involved in criminal activity would normally be settled without the use of guns yet more recently such disputes are now more often settled with guns? Could the greater availability of guns together with a greater willingness to use them be the significant factors here?

The bottom line is that we want to stop gun crime in Sefton because the very last thing we want to see is another tragic Rhys Jones type death.

2 more shootings in Maghull and 1 in Bootle – ‘It’s like living in the wild west’

http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2013/03/15/9-30am-update-just-hours-after-merseyside-police-and-crime-commissioner-says-gun-crime-is-being-tackled-there-are-three-firearms-incidents-in-under-40-minutes-99623-32994745/

The Post (see above link) has the story of the latest shootings and one former resident of Maghull said to me today ‘My god whats happening in my old home town !!’

Well here we go again with 3 more shootings in Sefton in just one evening of criminal activity; you just could not make this up.

And it all happened just a couple of hours after Merseyside’s new Police and Crime Commissioner was speaking to worried residents in a school hall in Lydiate. She had been invited because of the first 3 shootings in Maghull but by the time she spoke at the meeting there had been a 4th, with 2 following the meeting.

To give Jane Kennedy her due she was very good at speaking to the meeting in Lydiate Primary School. I had half expected her to launch into some kind of speech that we hear from many Labour politicians these days along the lines of slagging off the government. But not a word of it and no party political remarks from her at all; that must have disappointed Bill Esterson’s staff who were there in force.

So Jane hit the right notes and she was ably assisted by two senior Police Officers. But despite their good showing it was obvious that many locals in the Maghull area are very unhappy about the recent spate of gun crime. What’s more the unhappy coincidence of two further shootings in Maghull (plus one in nearby Bootle) within hours of the meeting will only increase such concerns

I first started to raise my concerns about shootings in Sefton Borough a while ago (see previous postings) but recently I decided to do a Freedom of Information request to find out what has really been going on in the Borough in terms of gun crime and I will publish the results of my investigations very soon.

Having lived in the Maghull and Lydiate area since I was 10 this turn of events makes me wonder whether, as one resident said at last night’s meeting, we are living in the wild west!

PS. No sooner had I posted this piece than I got into conversation with a chap who is Maghull through and through and he told me how unimpressed he had been with Jane Kennedy on local radio today. I have not heard what she said on radio but having gained a round of applause last night she seems to have gained a boo from Mr. Maghull today. Nobody said it would be easy to tackle violent gun crime on Merseyside and she has a lot of people on her back right now who are expecting her to take decisive and effective action.

Sefton Estate Residents Association – Seems I am not the only one calling on Merseyside’s newly elected Police Commissioner to take action against serious/gun crime

A copy of a letter to Merseyside’s newly elected Police Commissioner was handed to me yesterday and a worrying picture it paints of problems, including gun crime, in and around the Sefton Estate in the Netherton part of Sefton Borough.

The letter was written on 3rd January asking for a private meeting with the Commissioner but of course we all know that the nearby shopping centre serving this estate – Marion Square – was the scene of another gun crime after this letter was written.

Drug and gang related activities, knives and guns are sadly becoming a part of our every day culture these days even in what the press term ‘leafy areas’ such as Maghull, where there have been 3 shootings in just one year.

I really do hope that the Merseyside Police and indeed our new Commissioner are going to hit these problems and the causes of them hard, otherwise the appalling nature of the criminal activities detailed in the Sefton Residents Assn. letter will become the norm and they will simply be managed rather than resolved.

We need to see a clear Merseyside Police/Police Commissioner action plan to effectively tackle gang, drug and gun crime in Sefton as a matter of urgency.

Gun crime – My call brings Police Commissioner to Sefton

A call that I made at Sefton’s last Full Council meeting for action to stem rising gun crime in the area has met with a response from Sefton Council Leader Peter Dowd who told the Council’s Cabinet meeting last Thursday, “Following the Councillor’s question at the Council Meeting, I thought it would be useful if the Police and Crime Commissioner could address us on the subject and wider policing concerns”.

Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy attended the meeting flanked by Chief Supt Nikki Holland, Sefton’s Area Commander. She informed the councillors that, although crime, and particularly gun crime, was on a downward trend nationwide, the Liverpool, Knowsley and Sefton Area was in a different category.

“Last year, there were fifteen Gun discharges in Sefton, of which five resulted in injury”. she said. “This year, there have been eighteen of which eleven have involved injury. One of these was a suicide.”

Commissioner Kennedy explained that the agencies concerned with gun crime had been meeting at both strategic and operational level.

I am pleased that my concerns about the Gun situation have been taken seriously. The people of Maghull, for example, are not at all used to this type of violence on our streets and need firm reassurance that there will be appropriate action to prevent recurrence of these gun incidents if at all possible. I am grateful to Cllr. Dowd for inviting the Commissioner.

I would have been even more grateful if I and other Maghull residents had been informed beforehand of her appearance at the meeting so we could have had the opportunity to go and hear what she was saying.

New Police Inspector For Maghull Neighbourhood

I recently received an e-mail from Maghull Neighbourhood Police introducing their new top man. Regular readers of this blog will sadly not be surprised by my response.

Hello,

I am Inspector Phil Hatton, newly arrived at Maghull Police Station and currently taking over from Mr Booth.

You have all been identified to me as key individuals within the
Maghull/Lydiate/Aintree neighbourhood.

I look forward to working with you all, with the aim of keeping the neighbourhood as free from crime & disorder ( and the fear of crime & disorder) as we possibly can.

I am hoping to meet as many of you as I can in the coming weeks. I am currently familiarising myself with the various aspects of my new role and finalising outstanding matters from my previous one.

Kind regards,

Phil Hatton
Inspector.
Maghull Police Station.

My response and how I wish I had not needed to send it! What a way to have to welcome our new Police Inspector

Thanks for getting in touch Phil,

Nice to hear from you and I hope we meet soon.

I do have a major concern because of the 3 gun discharges in Maghull over the past year and I will be raising my concerns at the Sefton East Parishes Area Committee tonight to follow up my raising gun crime concerns at the last Full Council meeting of Sefton Council.

Having represented Maghull on the Council since 1985 and lived here since 1968 these gun crimes are a big concern.

Best wishes

Cllr. Tony Robertson

Sefton’s Gun crime problems – Raising concerns at an Area Committee but what is being done?

As part of the Lib Dem’s continuing campaign to try to put a stop to gun crime in Sefton we took the fight to the Sefton’s East Parishes Area Committee meeting on 7th February only days after the latest shooting in nearby Netherton (see my 4th February posting). The Maghull Neighbourhood Police Sergeant was present and a couple of hours before the meeting I had also contacted the Neighbourhood’s new Inspector putting down a marker about guns.

Having represented Maghull for 28 years this is a very serious matter to me with 3 shootings in the Town in just the past year. I feel it is vital that councillors make it clear that our communities are simply not prepared to tolerate gun crime in any form.

We realise that our campaign is putting pressure on our hard working Police but if we sit back and do nothing things can only get worse. What we are looking for is clear assurance that Merseyside Police is prioritising gun crime in Sefton and we want to see their and indeed our new Merseyside Police Commissioner’s plans to tackle this community menace.

We await some substantive responses – It’s now two and a half weeks since I raised the matter at Sefton’s last Full Council meeting, there has been another shooting since then (the one in Netherton) but no one from Merseyside Police or indeed the Commissioner’s Office has yet been in touch.