Readers will recall that I have been pressing Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy over the future of Maghull Police Station. My posting of 8th August 2013 refers:-
Well things have moved on but there remains a distinct lack of clarity in my view. I attended a recent briefing given by the Commissioner about the emerging estates strategy of Merseyside Police but did not gain much in the way of useful information.
Here I am at Maghull Police Station where the Neighbourhood Policing Team operates from.
On one level the need to retain a policing base in all the 5 recognised ‘hubs’ of Sefton seems to be there i.e. Southport, Formby, Maghull, Crosby and Bootle. But how they will provided this is presently very vague. I can see former shop units becoming a police bases, or community centres, or libraries, because clearly disposal of a number of current police stations is very much on the cards.
That the Police have very limited resources is a given so you can understand why they want to dispose of some old, expensive to run and operationally redundant property so that the money can be reinvested in front line policing. But we will all want to know how this is going to be achieved in detail.
It will be no use saying for example that police station ‘A’ is to close without also saying how the service to the the community, where that police station is based, will be continued/re-provided from new/alternative premises. At present I think it is fair to say that the Merseyside Police estate strategy is at a very high level and because of that many, many questions remain to be answered. Frankly, I would have thought it better to show a community the whole picture of change for consultation rather than what seems to be no more than half of it.
And I am not alone in my concerns as Cllr. Simon Shaw, a Lib Dem member of the Committee which oversees the activities of the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, says this:-
A £130m plan to overhaul police stations across Merseyside could see some bases moving into community centres and libraries. ……
Councillor Simon Shaw, who sits on the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel, criticised the plans for a “lack of clarity”.
Cllr. Simon Shaw outside Southport Police Station
The Liberal Democrat said: “They talk about things like ‘neighbourhood patrol hubs’, but what exactly does that mean in real life? Will these community stations be open all the time, or only for five hours per week? We don’t know precisely what is being proposed.
“If it’s a different way of using police buildings then I have no problem with that. If cuts are not made in this area then do they cut them in schools, or elsewhere in the public sector?
“But I think there is a lack of clarity for something really important here.”
More news as I get it but does the Maghull Morrisons Store issue that I raised on this blog site last Sunday fit in with this? Maghull Police Station is one that is clearly now underused and is down for disposal and it is right next door to Morrisons!