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?