Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson was delighted to open a new community police station in his constituency after years of manned police desks being closed down.
The MP for Maghull said budget cuts had forced the closure of many neighbourhood police stations but he praised the work of the Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy and Maghull’s town and borough councillors for their work in securing the opening of this service at Maghull Town Hall.
Mr Esterson says this good work must now continue as he hopes to see these community stations opened up across the region.
Mr Esterson said: “Thank you to Maghull Town Council and to Merseyside Police for recognising the importance to people in Maghull and Lydiate of having a community police station for residents.
“It is very important that we feel safe and can speak to a uniformed police officer when we have concerns.
“Using Maghull Town Hall as a Community Police Station makes sense as the facilities were not being used.
“Merseyside Police has had some of the biggest cuts anywhere in the country since 2010. I believe those cuts were a big mistake and that those who supported the cuts were wrong. So it is to the credit of Police and Crime Commisioner Jane Kennedy and Town Councillors Patr3ick McKinley and John Sayers that this facility is available to help neighbourhood and community policing.
“Jane Kennedy is absolutely right to insist that community policing is protected as it plays a vital role in preventing crime and in reassuring residents. The police have a very difficult job to do with dramatically fewer officers. Congratulations are therefore due to everyone who has played a part in opening the facility in Maghull.”
Leader of Maghull Town Council Cllr Patrick McKinley said: “When we first heard that the police were looking to locate a Community Police Station in Maghull both myself and my colleague John Sayers lobbied hard to bring this exciting development to our town.
“We feel it is a win win situation as it will bring policing closer to the local community. Residents will have direct access to police officers in a way that hasn't been possible since the police station in the town centre closed.
“There will also be a large increase in passive policing as officers use the community station. We look forward to building on existing relationships and developing much closer relationships with all of our local police.”
PCC Jane Kennedy added: “Maghull Town Hall is an excellent location for this Community Police Station. It is centrally located and will see the policing team based alongside councillors, council workers and a host of voluntary groups which serve the local community.
“This new Community Police Station will put the neighbourhood team right at the heart of the community in a busy location which is well used by the community and which has been recommended by local councillors. It is clear that people in Maghull are thrilled at the prospect of having their local officers and PCSOs at their community centre on a regular basis.
“I am very grateful to Maghull Town Council for so enthusiastically engaging with the plans to make Merseyside Police more accessible and for helping this new station to become a reality. It is a real example of what can be achieved in partnership for the benefit of our communities. I hope this Community Police Station will bring officers and PCSOs closer to the people they serve and be a real asset to the community.”
Maghull Community Police Station is the first station of its kind to be opened in the Borough as part of the Commissioner, Jane Kennedy’s 10-year strategy to transform and update the Force’s ageing estate. Work to open a Community Police Station in the train station in Ainsdale is also underway and is expected to be completed later this month.
The proposal to co-locate the new Community Police Station in the Town Hall on Westway was first suggested to the Commissioner by council leaders during the initial consultation on her plan to modernise Merseyside Police’s stations in order to cut costs back in 2015. Work officially began last September after planning permission for alterations to the property was granted.
The Commissioner joined Bill Esterson, Merseyside Police’s head of Local Policing Chief Superintendent Jon Roy, Area Commander Superintendent Matt Boyle, Cllrs McKinley and Sayers, and Maghull Mayor Cllr June Burns to officially declare the station open for business.
Community Police Stations are designed to be accessible, visible centres which are co-located with partners in busy neighbourhood hubs which are already well-used by the communities they serve. They are a key part of the plan of the PCC’s strategy to transform Merseyside Police’s stations with the aim of saving £2.5m on running costs every year, money which can be redirected straight into frontline policing.
By replacing inefficient and expensive old police stations with new Community Police Stations, the Commissioner is working to reduce the annual running cost of Merseyside Police’s estate in order to protect 65 police officer jobs.
The Community Police Station in Maghull will be open on a regular, but not continuous basis and will include public meeting rooms and facilities for officers. Surgeries will be publicised at the centre, on local billboards and through the Force’s website.
PIC shows: Bill Esterson with Cllr Carla Thomas (chair of Merseyside Police and Crime Panel), Cllr John Sayers, PCC Jane Kennedy, Maghull Mayor Cllr June Burns, Cllr Patrick McKinley