Merseyside Police are undertaking a review of Police Stations on Merseyside. It is proposed that Kirkby would have a new station which would include Neighbourhood and Patrol Hub with a General Enquiry Office. Personnel based in Kirkby outside of those functions would move to a new Area HQ in Huyton.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, Jane Kennedy, held a public consultation event in All Saints High School on Thursday 30th November at 6pm. Some 1st 4 Kirkby members were present at the meeting to hear the proposals and ask questions.
The aim of the review is to make more stations open to the public at least once a week, to tackle the poor state-of-repair the estate is said to be in, and to try to save money that would otherwise be spent on expensive repairs to old buildings.
Jane Kennedy confirmed that Kirkby would definitely retain a General Enquiry office open 7 days a week, the same as we currently have. The new station would also continue to house the neighbourhood policing team, and be a centre for patrol units.
However, some of the existing support staff would move to the new Area HQ in Huyton. Despite these being proposals, Jane Kennedy confirmed that they had already bought Huyton Magistrates Court next to the current Huyton Police Station to enable the future relocation on some functions from Kirkby.
1st 4 Kirkby queried what the force was doing to ensure that should these proposals be implemented that the newly built estate would be properly maintained. We received a vague answer about the force already looking into this issue, although they offered no concrete information on how they would ensure the investment was not squandered over time
We were glad though that Jane Kennedy promised that none of the new Police Stations would be built using Private-Finance Initiatives (PFI), which have previously been used for schools and NHS buildings. PFIs amount to privatising the ownership and maintenance of public buildings – allowing things to be built with lower cost to the tax-payer now, but much greater cost over the time of the PFI contract. It is a relief this approach will not be taken. However, of the £130 million that is due to be borrowed, £60 million of this is due to be spent on refurbishing the Merseyside Police HQ and building a new Operational Command Centre.
Although 1st 4 Kirkby had half a dozen people present, there was not a single Kirkby Labour councillor present at this important consultation event. According to the organisers the event was advertised directly to councillors, through local community centres and some other outlets. However there were at most 15 members of the community present including those from 1st 4 Kirkby, and many of these had only found out about the meeting on the day.
If you wish to make comments on the proposals, you have until 5th November to do so. Visit www.takingtherightsteps.com to submit feedback online.
If the proposals are approved, Merseyside Police said they would be looking for the best location for the new Kirkby Police Neighbourhood and Patrol Hub and would appreciate suggestions from the community.