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Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson joins forces with Aintree Village Parish Council to oppose Government cuts to Merseyside Police

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson with Aintree Village Parish Councillor Peter Gill are opposing the cuts to Merseyside Police Force.

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has joined forces with Aintree Village Parish Council to campaign against cuts to the police service.

Aintree Village Parish Councillors decided unanimously to work with the MP to put together a petition to oppose the cuts to the emergency services.

The Aintree Village councillors also unanimously supported Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy's calls for a reverse to cuts to police funding.

At the parish council meeting, councillors unanimously agreed:

  • Mr Bill Esterson MP be requested to organise an online petition against the funding reductions for the police service, particularly as Aintree Village has an ‘ageing population’
  • Ms Kennedy’s open letter to the people of Merseyside be very much supported and she be informed that the Parish Council sincerely sympathises and supports her stance, yet hopes that she will be able to minimise the impact on front line services of police officers, community support police officers and the mounted section
  • This matter be raised at the next meeting of the Sefton Area Partnership Of Local Councils.

Bill Esterson Aintree Village Parish Council's concerns were echoed across the constituency and throughout the region.

Bill said: "The government is dicing with public safety with the cuts to our police force. Commissioner Kennedy has said it. The Chief Constable has said it. I have said it. And now the parish council is adding its weight to the campaign.

"But it's one thing for MPs like me to raise concerns about the impact of the Conservatives' severe cuts on public services, but when leading serving police officers raise concerns, and then parish councillors echo those concerns, then you know that the situation is dire, and I would suggest dangerous.

"For five years now, since the government began their slash and burn attack on our emergency and public services, I and my colleagues have been raising concerns about the impact the cuts would have on public safety.

"Indeed I met with the Police Federation just last year who raised similar concerns about cuts which have seen police numbers fall to a nine year low.

"Those figures are only going to fall further in the coming years as George Osborne demands even greater cuts to our police force here in Merseyside.

"We have felt this already here in the communities with the closure of police enquiry desks in Maghull, Formby and Crosby, but now our dedicated PCSOs are in the firing line.

"PCSOs have served a vital function in communities, like Aintree Village which has an aging population, since their introduction under the Labour Government in 2003. They have proven to be a crucial element of community policing here in Merseyside and across the country. I have met a number of them here in this constituency over the past few years and I know the dedication that they show to our communities. To lose them is a devastating blow to the work the police do and the towns and villages they serve."

Aintree Village Parish Councillor Peter Gill said: "The government's cuts to Merseyside Police have already been felt in our community here in Aintree Village, but to cut even further will have a real detrimental effect on life in this village.

"The next stage of the cuts could see our PCSOs axed. Here in Aintree Village the PCSOs are a part of our community. We know them personally and that is vitally important to the people who live here, particularly given that we have an ageing population.

"That is why the parish council unanimously supported Commissioner Kennedy's open letter to the people of Merseyside in which she warned people about the impact of the government's cuts on our police force.

"Neighbourhood Policing has worked very well for communities like Aintree Village. If these further cuts are implemented, then we will be lucky if we have any police in our neighbourhoods.

"That is why we support Jane Kennedy's campaign and why we have joined forces with our MP Bill Esterson to urge people to sign the commissioner's petition."

Bill said despite the cuts, he agreed with Aintree Village Parish support for the Police and Crime Commissioner's efforts to mitigate the effects of the cuts.

Bill said: "I know through regular meeting with Commissioner Kennedy and Merseyside Police chief constable Jon Murphy, that they have done everything in their power to mitigate the worst effects of the cuts. Efficiencies have been made in every quarter and indeed staffing levels have been slashed to shockingly low levels.

"Commissioner Kennedy has drawn up ambitious plans to shake up the force's estate, which will see community police stations open up again in the hearts of our communities in Maghull, Formby and Crosby.

"But there is no way they can mitigate the impact of this level of attack on our police by this government.

"To lose 40 per cent of the workforce, reducing numbers from 7,276 to just 4,444 is devastating. How can Merseyside Police be expected to continue to operate effectively with this level of cut in its workforce? How can our police be expected to respond to any form of public emergency?

"How can we expect effective policing in Aintree Village and in the rest of our communities when our neighbourhood police teams have been axed?

"This government's cuts are a threat to our local and national security. I am deeply concerned for public safety and for safety in our communities."

Bill is now urging people to sign the petition.

Bill said: "Aintree Village Parish Councillors have requested an online petition be set up but I know Jane Kennedy herself has already done that, so I am urging people to sign that.

"What we need is everyone in this community, and in communities throughout Sefton Central and beyond to sign it. We need a groundswell of grassroots opposition to the government’s cuts to our police.

"Perhaps then they will listen to sense and finally put a stop to their devastating and dangerous cuts."

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