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?

Bootle – It’s North Park

In conversation with my old chum Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker (95 years young) the other day he told me of his playing putting and bowls in North Park during his lunch hour when he worked for an electroplating company in Bootle.

This made me think about a park I have worked almost next to myself for over 20 years so I took this shot as it is now from a high vantage point. The road in the foreground is Marsh Lane, with Stanley Road forming the road along the right hand side of the park.

Bootle's North Park

Click on the photo to enlarge it

There’s no bowling green now and no putting green either. The park has a skateboard facility in the right background (partly behind the trees) and a significant part of it was given over to the building of Bootle Leisure Centre (and its car park) which was funded by City Challenge Money from the 1980’s I think.

Merseyrail’s Liverpool – Southport railway line (left hand top corner) is of course a constant over many generations but other things on this photo are relatively modern such as the Aldi store which replaced a Vauxhall car dealership in recent times if memory serves.

The photo is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

The Bootle Gas Works Branch Railway/Langton Dock Branch (Midland Railway)

The remains of this long gone branch railway are still visible in various places not least of which is the former tunnel that took the branch under what was Marsh Lane Station but is now Bootle New Strand Station on the Merseyrail network.

The trees in the foreground mask the now pedestrian tunnel which runs  under the the first carriage of this Merseyrail Electric Unit which is sat at New Strand Station

The trees in the foreground mask the now pedestrian tunnel which runs under the the first carriage of this Merseyrail Electric Unit which is at at New Strand Station

This former branch is probably a mile or so south of the North Mersey Branch (and travelling east to west like it) which I posted about on 2nd May.

The tunnel is now a pedestrian link under the present railway/station which gives access to an ASDA Superstore. What drew my attention to it was the wall-art on the tunnel walls and I posted a piece with a photo from that wall-art associated with the Borough of Sefton being 40 years old this year on 29/03/2014. I would add that the tunnel has been substantially filled in so the ground level you walk on through the tunnel is much higher than the original trackbed.

There are quite a few depictions of things associated with Bootle life on the tunnel walls and here are a few more shots of the wall-art.




An internet search about the old branch threw up an interesting web site which carries photo’s and some description of the efforts made by people to access these long closed tunnels, where this may still possible. The link below gives details.

The former Midland Railway built branch line left Langton Dock and headed directly inland in an easterly direction, travelling under the Southport – Liverpool Line, under Stanley Road, under Marsh Lane and then under Hawthorne Road. Various tunnel/retaining/parapet walls can easily be seen on Marsh Lane and where the line passed under Hawthorne Road. A high vantage point allows you to trace much of the line further east where it was in a cutting between houses and businesses. The parapet walls where it passed under Southport Road are still in place for example.

A fascinating point here is that the line passed under Marsh Lane, not across it at an angle, but following the same line as Marsh Lane for a fair distance. Marsh Lane from Litherland Road to Hawthorne Road is in effect a long unseen viaduct as the closed railway tunnel is still below it.

Here are a couple of shots of the remaining blue engineering brick parapets:-

This Southport Road looking east with the line being in a cutting both sides of the over-bridge

This is Southport Road looking east with the line being in a cutting both sides of the over-bridge

e shots of the remaining blue engineering brick parapets etc.

This is Hawthorne Road looking east with the former line being in a cutting until Hawthorne Road.

This is Hawthorne Road looking east with the former line being in a cutting until this point.

Some of the photos in this posting are amongst my Flickr photo’s at