Closing Police Stations – Maghull

I have commented recently on the plan of Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy to sell off the underused Maghull Police Station (along with others across the County) and to get neighbourhood police officers to work out of smaller premises.

In Maghull the new base for the ‘Coppers’ could be a shop unit, Maghull Library, Lydiate Village Centre? Your guess is presently as good as mine, but change it is a coming.

Then the other day I happened to walk past Maghull Police Station and a photograph jumped out at me to be taken. The Station is certainly in the Autumn of its years and the trees around it are full of Autumn colours. What’s more a for sale sale also creeps into the shot! Well OK, it’s not a for sale sign for the Police Station (yet) it’s actually for a retirement flat next door) but it might as well be as it’s days are certainly numbered.

rsz_maghull_police_station

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

I would add that I am not against the Police getting out of property that is too large and costs money to keep going. I would rather have the money spent on Police Officers.

Police Stations in Sefton & the Maghull Morrisons Link?

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:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/08/08/sefton-borough-are-our-local-police-stations-being-considered-for-closure/

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 must have had a tough time during Mad March.

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:-

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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

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.”

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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!

Time to get rid of Police & Crime Commissioners

A couple of weeks ago I went to a meeting involving Merseyside’s P&CC Jane Kennedy. The meeting itself is not what this piece is about but an odd, almost throwaway remark, she made during it struck a chord with me. I can’t quote Jane directly but she said words to the effect that ‘if the PCC continue to exist’. Clearly she doubts that they will and let’s face it there have been a number a scandals involving P&CC’s across England – not involving Jane I would add.

The Sunday Times recently quoted shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper saying that a future Labour government would abolish police and crime commissioners and instead give local people a say in appointing a police commander. Such a move, we are told, would save at least £50m, which could be spent on frontline policing.

I am not sure what Ms Cooper means by her bland statement ‘giving local people a say in appointing a police commander’ as this could mean a number of different things but she is right to conclude that the P&CC have been a bad move.

The Tories saw them as being able to make a step change in the way local policing is managed and yet many of us non-Tories just could not see how this change would deliver such an objective. Sadly, we have since seen that the Tories plan was flawed and more P&CC’s than anyone can feel comfortable with have got into trouble or scandal. What’s more virtually no one voted in the P&CC elections showing that whatever the Tories saw as a big crime and policing game changer never gained the hearts and minds of the voters.

This was a wheel that did not need to be reinvented and it strikes me as one of those manifesto policies, of the needless change variety, that political parties dream up to try to show how distinctive they are from the other parties. Whosoever dream it was must have been having a bad dream!

Echo – Merseyside Police Police watchdog critical of Merseyside Police call-screening system which leads to officers not attending crime scenes

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/police-watchdog-critical-merseyside-police-7720971

The rather worrying story being carried by the Liverpool Echo – see link above:-

Gun Crime – Maghull, Sefton, Liverpool, Merseyside – Sawn-off shotgun left in hedge!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-27701032

The BBC has thew story above.

Maghull had its March of madness with guns in 2013, Bootle and Netherton has an ongoing gun crime problem and across Merseyside we hear of guns and gun crime far too often.

Just imagine if that sawn-off shot gun that the kids found in a hedge had been loaded!

It’s all well and good our Police and Crime Commissioner spending scarce public money appointing a party political colleague as her Deputy but what is being done about gun crime on Merseyside? Surely the money spent on the wages of her Deputy would have been much better invested in combating crime?

MERSEYSIDE POLICE COMMISSIONER JANE KENNEDY COMES UNDER ATTACK FOR “CRONYISM”

I covered this matter yesterday but more has now emerged about the detail.

Labour’s local Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, has come under attack from the cross-party Merseyside Police Panel which oversees her, for her recent controversial decision to appoint a Labour Liverpool councillor as her Deputy – a part-time position for which the annual full time equivalent rate of pay is £53,000 per year.

Meeting just over a week ago, the Police Panel grilled Commissioner Jane Kennedy and her nominee, Labour councillor Ann O’Byrne about the proposed appointment. Councillors expressed worries that the move smacked of the very “cronyism” highlighted by Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee in a report published earlier in May.

In their report about the proposed appointment the Panel voiced their concerns about the whole recruitment process, stating that “The panel felt it was in the public interest for a new appointment process to be carried out . . . particularly as this position would be remunerated from the public purse.”

Birkdale (Sefton) Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw is a member of the Merseyside Police Panel and was among those who raised concerns with both Jane Kennedy and Cllr O’Byrne. He said he was appalled at some of the responses given to the Panel:

Cllr Simon Shaw outside Southport Police Station

“In particular, Jane Kennedy quite openly stated in public session that membership of the Labour Party was a key requirement of the position. If that isn’t cronyism, I don’t know what is.”

“I also asked both of them for an assurance that Cllr Ann O’Byrne would be standing down from her current, well-remunerated positions as Assistant Executive Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing on Liverpool City Council. They both refused to give that assurance.”

“In my view the detailed questioning revealed that Mrs Kennedy had simply not thought this through. The post was unadvertised; there was no proper open recruitment process; there is no clarity as to how Cllr O’Byrne can actually “deputise” and there is no financial provision for the post, even though the Police Commissioner agreed her Budget just 3 months ago.”

“That’s why the Panel effectively said ‘Go back to the drawing board”!” added Cllr Shaw.

However, in a snub to the Panel, Jane Kennedy has now appointed Cllr O’Byrne with immediate effect to the 3 day a week position. Pay for the post is £31,800 pa which equates to a full time equivalent salary of £53,000 a year. Taking account of her allowances as a councillor, Cabinet Member and Assistant Executive Mayor on Liverpool City Council, the Labour politician’s total pay from public funds now amounts to £56,000 a year.