My thanks to Cllr. Marianne Welsh for this report – my comments are in italics.
The event, held at the Atkinson (Previously known as Southport Arts Centre before the recent refurbishment), was not well attended – 6 members of the public, one policeman and 4 Southport councillors. It’s purpose seemed to be to help Jane Kennedy to engage with Southport residents but with so few attending………………………
She introduced herself and in doing so acknowledged that Police Commissioners had many doubters, including the Police, when they first were elected. Frankly, I remain a doubter as for the life of me I can’t see what they really add to effective accountable Policing.
Marianne says Jane referred to the huge Police commitment to help keep safe a NATO type summit to be held soon in Wales and the effect that it and sending Merseyside Police officers over to Northern Ireland for the ‘Marching Season’ will have on the local Merseyside Force. Her tone indicated this was something giving her cause for concern.
Marianne noted that in trying to explain how Police share information, via IT, across differing forces Jane seemed somewhat lost by the IT issues. Like many of us I assume but the public sector often falls down on grand plans because the IT is not as capable as it was promised to be.
When Marianne asked Jane (a former Liverpool Labour MP) what challenges she had come across in her new role she was given an example about Jane going to Marian Square (Netherton – Bootle Constituency), describing the deprivation around the shops and the local talk on the streets about drug dealing. Jane said she had engaged with various partners (an oft used public sector phase that could mean any or many other agencies) but that none were mentioned nor what plans had been drawn up to find solutions for that community.
Out in Maghull I have recently been pushing Jane Kennedy for assurances about the future of the Town’s Police Station but frankly I only got a vague response back after a long wait and having needed to send a reminder. I do worry that her office does not respond to letters promptly despite it costing us all significant amounts of money to run. Sorry Jane I remain to be convinced that you and indeed all the other Police Commissioners are making a difference.