The rather worrying story being carried by the Liverpool Echo – see link above:-
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:
“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.
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.
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.
Driving down Aintree Road in Bootle yesterday and what do I see but two huge posters that could not be more inappropriate in a community with more than its fair share of gun crime!
What do posters like this say about our society when guns are being so overtly promoted. I despair.