Policing in the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough – Changes announced

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Here’s an update about how Merseyside Police intend to change policing in the East Parishes (Maghull, Lydiate, Aintree Village, Melling & Sefton/Lunt Villages) part of Sefton Borough and indeed across the Borough.

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As part of the Force restructure in January, our local Inspector Phil Hatton is to be deployed away from Local Policing prior to retiring. December will be his last month in post as Neighbourhood Inspector.

In January 2017, the BCU (Basic Command Unit) structure of Merseyside Police will change to a ‘Functional’ structure. As part of these changes, Neighbourhood Policing will be re-titled Community Policing under the ‘Local Policing’ function. Sefton Local Policing teams will be managed by Superintendent Paul White and Chief Inspector Jerry Harris.

In essence this means that the current Sefton North & West Neighbourhoods [Formby & Southport] will combine under one Inspector (Graham Fisher) as North Sefton Community Hub.

The current South & East Sefton Neighbourhoods will combine under one Inspector as the South Sefton Community Hub. That Inspector will be Ian Jones from 9th January. The team will be based at Marsh Lane Police Station.
He will have responsibility for the following Wards:-

Sudell,Park & Molyneux [These wards cover the East Parishes area of the Borough], St Oswald,Ford,Netherton & Orrell, Blundellsands,Church,Manor,Victoria,Litherland,Linacre and Derby.

Whilst there will clearly be challenges for the new Inspectors – particularly their large geographical responsibilities, they will retain teams of PCSO’s and Police Officers to support them and remain as points of contact within each Ward. They will also be supported by other teams who will support them with proactive operations.

The Force changes are designed to reflect the changing nature of Policing, and to improve our investigative, PVP (protecting vulnerable people) and intelligence functions. It has also been designed so that more Officers are available to respond to calls for service at key times during the day and night.

Phil Hatton says it has been a pleasure to be the East Sefton Neighbourhood Inspector for the last 4 years and that he has been happy to support and/or admire the many people who are out there doing positive things in their Communities.

Going forwards, it is important that there are Police Teams who remain ‘invested’ in communities, as this provides the motivation to keep improving, and to respond to issues as they arise.

To everyone who Phil has worked with, or even shared a chat, he wishes a fond farewell and best wishes for the future.

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This update was supplied by Merseyside Police to Lydiate Parish Council. In turn I would like to express my thanks to Phil Hatton, who famously was called Derek Hatton (in error of course) at a Council meeting I was at. Phil has been someone whom I have been confident to raise matters with on behalf of the communities I have represented. He has always tried to assist and I have valued his efforts. I wish him all the very best for the future.

Maghull -Youths on bikes doing incredibly dangerous things – My exchange with Merseyside Police

I posted not so long ago (see link below) about my concerns regarding the activities of some local young men who are putting themselves and other road users at great risk during the hours of darkness. The last incident that I witnessed only yesterday evening was the last straw for me so I have had the following exchange with Merseyside Police. I e-mailed Inspector Phil Hatton but as he is presently away work the reply is from Gerda Gates his Sgt. Neighbourhood Dedicated:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/09/29/maghull-one-of-those-i-cant-quite-belive-what-i-have-just-seen-moments/

Dear Phil,

I realise that what I am about to say to you may not seem like a priority but I hope you will consider the matter.

Over the past month or so, almost each time I have been out in the evening after it has got dark I have encountered youths riding bikes all dressed in black and with no lights on them. What’s more each time they have been been riding either on the wrong side of the road or in packs across the whole road. It may well be the same group of course.

My first encounter was with a gang riding up the A59 in effect blocking the whole northbound carriageway trying to hold up the traffic. This was by Maghull TH.

I have also come across a group riding pretty much across the whole of Liverpool Road South near the junction with Larchwood Avenue.

Tonight I came across a couple of youths riding the wrong way up the one way Damfield Lane access road straight at me. I mean the section from Red Lion Bridge to the A59.

I have also seen incidents of a similar nature in Liverpool Road North and Southport Road and fear that it is only a question of time before a road traffic accident takes place as other drivers must be encountering them as well as me.

Would it be possible for your road traffic people to look out for this activity in the evenings after dark and to take some positive action if they come across it?

Best wishes

Cllr. Tony Robertson

Lydiate Parish Councillor

And the reply

Good Afternoon Councillor,

As Mr Hatton is currently on a couple of days break, thank you for your email.

We have noted a rise in calls from local Maghull residents regarding youths on pedal cycles, however what you have described takes issues to another level, especially now we are entering winter months.

I have forwarded your email onto all my staff members for their extra attention when they are on the late shift.

Over the weekend naturally with Bonfire night there will be extra resources in and around the Maghull Area.

I have also forwarded your email onto our colleagues in traffic, for their information and action.

In the meanwhile we will endeavour to identify these youths who obviously have no regard for the public or their own safety.

I would ask that if either you or any of your constituents experience any similar incidents, that they contact Merseyside Police in “real time” to report the matter, so a patrol can be deployed at the first available instance.

Kind regards
Gerda Gates
Sgt Neighbourhood Dedicated

Lydiate and how it will be policed in future

I posted not so long ago regarding the recently notified restructuring of Merseyside Police and my concerns about the South Sefton Community Team being based at Marsh Lane Police Station which is far from being a central location for the area concerned. Indeed, my worry as expressed in that previous posting, is that communities such as Lydiate and Melling may be too far away from Bootle’s Marsh Lane to get a effective policing service.

My previous post is available via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/10/18/merseyside-police-facing-yet-more-cutbacks-but-why-run-the-south-sefton-area-from-marsh-lane-in-bootle/

I asked the Clerk of Lydiate Parish Council to take up such concerns with Inspector Phil Hatton who will be in charge of the South Sefton Community Team and below is his response:-

I note the concerns, which I had obviously already identified myself.

We have played no part in the review/reorganisation itself, but I have already raised the issue to the restructure team.

We are looking at ways to mitigate the concern.

1) It is to be emphasised that there will always be 24 hour cover provided by the ‘Response & Resolution’ Officers – who are separate from the Community team. They will be available to deal with calls for service regarding spontaneous incidents and currently attend Emergency incidents on average within 10 minutes.

2) The Community Team will retain a ‘single point of contact’ Officer (SPOC) for Lydiate. Additionally you will be provided with details of a Community Sergeant who will have Lydiate as part of their area of responsibility.

3) It is anticipated that the Community Police Officers will be able to transport PCSO’s into the locality when necessary.

4) We are also looking at giving selected PCSO’s driving capability, to enable them to get to outlying areas directly, and then go on foot patrol.

5) Clearly, our capability to provide day to day cover (in any locality) is now seriously challenged. However, should an ongoing issue of concern be identified in Lydiate, then the whole South Sefton Community team can be deployed to deal. We are going to have to be more issue-based rather than restricted by geography. Similarly, if any support is required with Community Events then get the requests in early!

There are still a lot of logistics re. the restructure being ironed out as you can imagine. I will provide more details when I have them prior to 30th January.

Best Wishes

I like Phil Hatton and have always been impressed with his efforts when I have raised issues with him in the past so I know he will do all he can to ensure that those communities a long way from Marsh Lane will not be neglected. However, this restructuring goes to show how deep the cuts are to Merseyside Police and their ability (or is that inability?) to do all that we citizens would wish them to do.

The proof of the policing pudding will clearly be in the eating when the restructure takes place. We can only hope for the best.

Merseyside Police – facing yet more cutbacks but why run the South Sefton Area From Marsh Lane in Bootle?

Maghull Police Station - Down to becoming disused soon according to Merseyside's Crime and Policing Commissioner.

Maghull Police Station – Down to becoming disused soon according to Merseyside’s Crime and Policing Commissioner.

Like many other local councillors I recently received an e-mail, via Lydiate Parish Council in my case, from Merseyside Police telling me about the consequences of their further and on-going belt tightening.

These are to be their priority areas moving forward:-

* cyber-crime, child exploitation, organised criminality, terrorism and PVP-protecting vulnerable people

Other changes will be:-

* Some further restructuring will be taking place ‘utilising the principles of the Chief Constable’s ‘Community First’ philosophy.’

* They will also be ‘moving from a target-based performance regime to one underpinned by a motivation to reduce threat, harm and risk’

* The present BCU (Basic Command Unit) structure, with 22 separate Commands, will change to 8 ‘Functional’ Commands.

One of these ‘Functional Commands’ will be Local Policing [I call it Community Policing – Ed]. There will be five Local Policing Areas (corresponding to the 5 Merseyside Local Authority boundaries – the 6th Halton Borough is Policed via Cheshire Police) with 10 Hubs. The restructure will go live on 30th January 2017.

In Sefton there will be 2 Community Hubs – North and South.

Inspector Phil Hatton will be the Community Inspector for the South Sefton Hub, which consists of; Bootle, Litherland, Seaforth, Crosby, Waterloo, Thornton, Netherton, Maghull, Aintree, Melling & Lydiate.

The Community Team will work out of Marsh Lane Police Station.

Clearly, this is a very large area, but we are told that Local Officers will be supported by the other ‘Functions’ such as ‘Response & Resolution’ (who will deal with calls for service), ‘Investigations’ – investigating all crime, and ‘Matrix’ – dealing with serious criminality and cross-border issues.

Local Police Officers are still in the process of being informed where they will be working within the new structure and their roles and responsibilities.

It seems that that there will be Officers and PCSO’s retained as points of contact within each Council Ward, but that on a day to day basis, tasking decisions will be issue-based rather than purely geographical.

We are promised that we will kept up to date with processes and contacts as they are decided over the next few months.

What struck me from reading the informative e-mail (other than the obvious concern about further cuts to our local police force of course) was that the South Sefton Policing Team will operate out of Marsh Lane Police Station in Bootle. Geographically it is poorly placed to serve the listed communities (see above) as it is tucked away in the right hand corner of the area. No explanation was offered in the e-mail as to why this decision had been taken but look at this way Lydiate is a long, long way from Bootle’s Marsh Lane and the same could be said of Melling for example.

It seems appropriate to me to now question how those communities that are remote from Marsh Lane will actually be served by Merseyside Police and whether responsiveness to those communities will be compromised by their distance from the local policing base?

Sefton Central Area Committee – It’s still a poor excuse for localism.

A 3-monthly Sefton Central Area Committee came around again last Thursday. This time the mini-conference (for that is what it is) was held in Maghull Town Hall yet all of the items of substance for residents were with regard to Formby and Crosby!

I was only able to stay for half the meeting as I needed to go to see an elderly chap whom I help to look after. I have the feeling that I was the lucky one though as others sat through more than I.

Participants in last Thursday's Sefton Central Area Committee

Participants in last Thursday’s Sefton Central Area Committee

So what did I see and hear?

I raised a correction with regard to the minutes of the previous meeting as ‘Maghull’ had been quoted instead of ‘Lydiate’ when identifying a location in them. Some Labour members at the meeting seemed to find this correction amusing – I know not why.

Parish Councillor David Warren of Hightown complained it took a 6 month wait to get a reply from Sefton Council over a matter he had raised!

I raised a question during the Police Report about a recent raid on a property in Church Lane Lydiate.

Bellway Homes took some stick over their activities in Formby. Complaints about the behaviour of their workforce were made by residents and Independent Cllr. Maria Bennett.

Cllr. Steve Kermode and I also raised continuing concerns about motorbikes on the Cheshire Line Path and the tow path of the Leeds Liverpool Canal with the Neighbourhood Police. We both know that the Police have a tough job to catch the nutters who make the canal tow path and Cheshire Lines path so dangerous with their motorbikes and appreciated the response of Inspector Phil Hatton. Steve and I may be in very different political parties but we often seem to on the same hymn sheet about local matters.

Aintree Village Parish Councillor Peter Gill reported on the voluntary library that is now operating out of Aintree Youth and Community Centre following Labour’s disgraceful closure of Aintree Library and their utter refusal to allow volunteers to take that building over. So despite the Sefton Council the community in Aintree and Melling have set up their own voluntary library that Sefton can’t close or disapprove of. But did I notice Labour councillors approving of the new voluntary library even though their Party stopped one from from being formed, I think I did!

Another item on the agenda was the new Parish Charter which allegedly forms the basis of an agreement between Sefton Council and the 10 Parish Councils in the Borough about how they will interact with each other. Good luck with that then is the best I can say as the previous publication of this Charter, which I had a hand in writing, was unceremoniously (and rightly) ripped up in front of Sefton’s Labour-run Cabinet not so long ago following them treating Aintree Village Parish Council like something you may find on the sole of a shoe! Labour don’t do partnerships with any organisation that does not carry a Labour Party membership card in my experience and their removal of grants to some of Sefton’s Parish Councils now means that the residents of those Parishes are paying for some local services twice.

But to return to the meeting where Formby residents had been forced to travel Maghull to raise their very local concerns……if that’s localism then I am a Dutchman as the saying goes.