Merseyside or Liverpool City Region?


With Merseyside/Liverpool City Region being somewhat the centre of attention presently due to the recent spike in Covid 19 it’s been interesting to hear how the media and politicians interchange Merseyside with Liverpool City Region. I’ve even seen a posting on Twitter explaining what Liverpool City Region is made up of as even on Merseyside it’s a matter of some confusion with Joe and Jane Public.

First a bit of history. Merseyside was created as part of the big local government reorganisation which came into effect in 1974. It comprised and indeed still does comprise the council areas of Knowsley, Sefton, St. Helens, Wirral and Liverpool. Mrs. T did not like the uppity Metropolitan County Councils and the Greater London Council so she abolished them. The powers that were held by Merseyside Country Council were given to joint boards made up of councillors from the boroughs or they went straight to the borough councils. The lead photo is of one of the last surviving Merseyside County Council boundary signs that I know of. It’s on Cunscough Lane on the Bikerstaffe/Melling – Lancashire/Merseyside boundary or at least it was last time I looked. You’ll note that the County Council had a crest which is displayed on the sign.

Then many years later there was a developing trend, particularly amongst Tories, to ape US/Australian local/regional government process and with that came the creation of Liverpool City Region, a City Region Mayor and a Police Commissioner. It also meant that Liverpool City had two elected mayors leading to the City Mayor becoming known as the ‘Spare Mayor’ in some circles. I think it’s fair to say that Police Commissioners have been a complete flop whilst the regional mayors are hardly viewed as being a successful policy move either.

The difference geographically between Merseyside and Liverpool City Region (LCR) is that LCR includes the Borough of Halton (Widnes & Runcorn) and the graphic below illustrates the area covered by LCR

But why did Merseyside morph into Liverpool City Region? Well it happened whilst I was leader of Sefton Council and the theory was this. The Council Leaders were told that potential investors in Merseyside did not know where it was, whereas they did know where Liverpool wass. You can follow this through reasonably logically by thinking about the huge successes of Liverpool Football Club who together with the Beatles put Liverpool on the world map. I get all that but to be honest I was never particularly sold on dropping Merseyside for LCR but a decision had to be made so eventually LCR was the title agreed but not with much enthusiasm I think it fair to say.

The irony of where we are now due to Covid 19 is that LRC may well mean a clear area of the UK for outside investors but to locals, politicians and the media in the UK it’s still Merseyside.

The name change has not really worked and it possibly never will with locals.

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

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!

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?


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.

Policing changes in the East Parishes area of Sefton – Hot off the press

I am publishing word for word the report that has today been sent to local councillors by Maghull neighbourhood Inspector Phil Hatton. There are some interesting references to Maghull Police Station continuing to be open and used which must be encouraging – see my previous postings on this and my exchanges with Merseyside’s Crime and Policing Commissioner (Labour’s Jane Kennedy) of a few weeks ago where she was clearly playing her cards close to her chest.


As you may be aware there has been a Force review of Neighbourhood policing this year. As a result of that review the Chief Constable and PCC have now approved a Neighbourhood Policing Restructure. In Sefton, this will occur on 11th November.

The positive news is that, even though half of Police Forces nationally have abandoned Neighbourhood Policing, Merseyside has decided to remain committed to it. Further to the last point, the numbers of PCSO’s and Constables posted to Neighbourhood Policing in Sefton overall have NOT been reduced.

What is changing?

1) There will be bigger Neighbourhoods and a reduction in Inspectors.

2) A team called the ‘Neighbourhood Support Unit’ (NSU) has been formed – enabling resources to be matched to demand and giving a capability to deal with serious crime issues not previously available.

3) All Wards have been subject to a threat/risk/harm assessment. Some Wards will lose dedicated Constables to facilitate the creation of the NSU.

4) PCSO’s will retain their Ward responsibilities. Some Wards will receive additional PCSO’s.

What does this mean for us?

• Maghull & Netherton Neighbourhoods will combine to be called ‘Sefton South East’ Neighbourhood-managed by myself,supported by Sgt Steve Matthews. This will incorporate the following Wards: Park, Sudell, Molyneux, Ford, St Oswald and Netherton & Orrell. Litherland Ward will become part of Sefton South West –managed by the local team at Marsh Lane.

• Sefton South East officers will use Copy Lane as a parade station. Maghull Police Station will serve as a hub station for those officers.

• Maghull Police Station will also serve as the parade station for the Sefton ‘Tactical Team’ – a group of specialist uniformed officers.

• The new Neighbourhood Support Unit (NSU) will be parade at Marsh Lane but deploy to support both South Sefton (East & West) Neighbourhood Inspectors.

Essentially, your Local Team will remain committed to problem solving in their area of responsibility.

As is the case now, they will not be available 24/7 but will be able to deal with low-level ongoing issues, gather intelligence and be as visible as possible.

If there are issues which the Local Team cannot deal with, then it will be a matter for the Inspector to request and co-ordinate other resources, beginning with the new NSU but also considering other Sefton, and (if necessary), Force resources.

There are no changes to existing 24-hour response cover. Sefton Patrol Teams continue to work exceptionally hard, in demanding times, to respond successfully to calls within target times over 90% of the time.

There are no changes to Sefton’s investigative capacity (CID, Intelligence etc).

Similar changes, and a separate NSU have been implemented in North Sefton (Formby & Southport).

Similar changes have been or are being implemented in Knowsley,Wirral,Liverpool & St Helens.

We will need to adapt to the changes as quickly as possible.Please bear with us as we deal with the technicalities such as the Force website etc.

If we continue to work together after the restructure, we can all make a difference locally to keep our communities as safe as we possibly can.

Merseyside Police Stations – Champion article provokes more concern

My posting of a couple of days ago raising concerns about potential Police Station closures on Merseyside was also given the light of day in the Champion newspaper, for which I am grateful.

Whilst I have had an assurance, from Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, that Maghull Police Station, for example, will remain open for the ‘foreseeable future’ this assurance is not necessarily going down well within the Police themselves.

My clear understanding is that the Commissioner’s view of things continues to be challenged within Merseyside Police, indeed I understand that the Champion article of last week led directly to her views being challenged to the extent that the paper has been told by a Police source that the Traffic Police, who are presently housed on the Maghull Police Station site, are to be removed.

Frankly, I am wondering what is going on between the Police and Police Commissioner and why this matter is not fully out in the open.