Interviews to happen with 8 consultancy firms over tender for confidential advice on cuts to Merseyside’s police and fire services
In the interests of openness and transparency I’ll declare at the outset that I’m the Appellant in a sub judice First-Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) case involving Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (2nd Respondent).
I was briefly remembering what happened five years ago in 2011.
Five years ago (well four years and ten months ago) if you remember it was the summer when there were riots. The riots were so widespread the police had difficulty coping. It was similar reasons that led to the 1981 Toxteth riots.
The Lib Dems’ attitude towards ethnic minorities was unfortunately the kind of attitude (especially from one of the two parties in the Coalition government at the time) that led to the riots. I remember vividly being at a North West Lib Dem regional conference where a party member stood up and proudly stated to the entire room of dozens of party activists that he would never choose a candidate from an ethnic minority background. So if you wondered why all the Lib Dem MPs (and indeed many of their councillors) were white, male and pale you should understand now!
There was of course an uproar from those from ethnic minorities in the room and the chair had to settle things down before the person who’d said it got drowned out through a lot of shouting.
In 2011 a black man Mark Duggan was shot dead by the police, in 1981 the Toxteth riots followed the Brixton riots which were also triggered by poor relations between the police and ethnic minorities.
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Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s Police and Fire Collaboration Committee 7th June 2016
However what’s the point of mentioning the above? Well Tuesday’s meeting of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee (you can watch video of the 13 minute meeting above) reminded me of a change in the culture of the police. A long time ago I used to report on the Merseyside Police Authority (before there was a Police and Crime Commissioner who started in November 2012), so I remember how matters involving Merseyside Police used to be.
In fact when I used to report on the Merseyside Police Authority it was obvious from the statistics shown to councillors that you were still far more likely to be stop searched in the Wirral area (although there were problems all over Merseyside to varying degrees) if you were from an ethnic minority background.
When Deputy Chief Constable, Andy Cooke, QPM (soon to be Chief Constable) didn’t use his microphone during the Police and Crime Collaboration Committee and my wife said she couldn’t hear, he apologised to my wife and turned it on.
This shows things have changed. The police "half" of the committee has learnt from bitter experience that it is better to apologise, learn from and correct their mistakes and move on. This is indeed the very hard to learn cultural lesson to be take away from high profile matters that happened a long time ago involving the police as a whole.
One of the nine Peelian principles is, “To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.”
However the fire service/fire authority culture is different. The Chair interrupted the meeting to tell my wife off for interrupting (which he does while looking directly at me rather than her).
I’m really am not entirely sure why he looked at me when he was saying this rather than her? Did he want me to say something to her? Is he not aware of Article 21(1)?
Just for clarity I was standing up behind the camera, she was sitting down to my left. So you’d have to look in completely different directions to face myself or Leonora. You can hear clearly my response to him on the video above.
Bear in mind that already during the meeting two people had commented on the minutes and hadn’t ask permission for the Chair to speak and aren’t on the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee itself.
The Chair indeed didn’t say anything to them (for the purposes of clarity those two were I think from memory the Deputy Chief Constable referred to above and if I am correct the Chief of Staff for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner)!
The recently elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Jane Kennedy wasn’t there. Her Deputy PCC Cllr Sue Murphy was (yes Jane Kennedy had previously stated she wouldn’t have a deputy but changed her mind part way through her previous term of office). Thankfully this meant the meeting started on time as a previous meeting of this Committee had been delayed from starting because Jane Kennedy arrived late and the person chairing the meeting didn’t want to start without her.
The meeting of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee agreed to hire consultants to advise them on how Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (and Authority) and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside can work better together.
I realise some may well comment along the lines of isn’t this what managers in the public sector on six-figure salaries are paid to do? However have you ever heard of a public sector manager either volunteering to offer themselves the sack or massively reducing the headcount they manage?
Yet in these times of seemingly never ending austerity, you the 1.4 million members of the public on Merseyside who finance the fire service may well ask why does more money need to be spent on consultants?
Eight organisations have applied for the role and there will be interviews later this month. You can read the detail here.
There are many areas within the Corporate Services Review, you can read the list on page 3 here.
Unusually (as they seem to have been quite vocal at previous meetings about the impact on jobs) as far as I could tell the trade union representatives weren’t present for this meeting.
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What are the election statements of the 4 Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner candidates?
Each candidate for Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner has produced a statement outlining what they would do if elected, which can be read on the Chose My PCC website. However I doubt many of the 1.4 million people on Merseyside who can vote in this election have heard of that website, so I have copied their election statements below. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by surname. For those voting in this election at their polling station, polling stations will be open for voting from 7 am to 10 pm on Thursday 5th May 2016.
David Robert Burgess-Joyce (Conservative Party candidate)
For over 30 years I have supported law and order locally, nationally and internationally in Merseyside Police as a former Special Constabulary Chief Officer, and as a member of the National Crime Squad and the Serious Organised Crime Agency. However, the most important post is the one I am applying for now, that of Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner. This is not just a wish to get back into the policing world but a genuine belief that the communities of Merseyside have not felt their police force has prioritised their needs in recent years.
Each year thousands of residents and businesses lose large sums of money through hackers and scammers who prey on their trust. More sinister too are the threats from paedophile gangs. I will ensure Merseyside is a hostile environment for those seeking to harm our children and vulnerable people.
It is clear to many people that the police have retreated from our streets. One of my first decisions will be to redress this by making all officers available for front-line duties. I don’t want to see any ‘forgotten’ areas in Merseyside; we all deserve access to sensible levels of policing.
I believe a re-organisation of current resources is more important than increasing council tax and guarantee we can get more out of our police force without necessarily putting more money in.
Local police and fire services work well together. As Police and Crime Commissioner I will merge much of their work, saving money to put where it is needed most: protecting law-abiding citizens and arresting criminals.
My priority will always be to make Merseyside safer for the law-abiding and hostile to the criminal.
Prepared by Simon Eardley on behalf of David Burgess-Joyce both of Wirral West Conservative Association, 24 Meols Drive, Wirral, CH47 4AN.
Christopher David Vincenzo Carubia (Liberal Democrat Party candidate)
Chris Carubia – working to cut crime and protect frontline policing in Merseyside.
Chris was elected as a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Wirral in 2014 – where he lives with his wife and daughter. Chris has spent over 35 years working in electrical engineering and I.T. management both in the UK and abroad.
Chris’s priorities for Merseyside are:
– Maintain a visible presence by defending front line policing
– Protect neighbourhood policing and fully support our PCSOs
– Ensure swift and effective response to reports of anti-social behaviour
– Prioritise tackling domestic violence and sexual exploitation
– Champion the rights of the victims and the use of restorative justice
“I am standing for Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner to work hard and make Merseyside the best police force in the country.
Policing faces many funding challenges and I believe this post needs a fresh, practical approach. One that is not influenced by existing culture.
I believe to be effective in this role you need to listen to residents of Merseyside. The Commissioner should be the voice of the community within the police force – not the police force’s voice in the community.
With your support on May 5th I’ll make sure we have an effective, well-funded police force that will help keep you and your family safe.”
This election address was prepared by Kris Brown on behalf of Chris Carubia both at 509 Smithdown Road, Liverpool, L15 5AE.
Traffic policing has not been a key priority for Merseyside Police and, while general crime has been falling, road crime such as dangerous speeding has not. The toll of killed and seriously injured across Merseyside remains high.
I would call on the police to tackle road danger as a key priority, with challenging targets. If needed, I would propose an increase in the police precept to provide resources for road policing.
Other police priorities are widely agreed, such as action on serious and organised crime, domestic abuse, hate crime, burglary, violent crime, support for victims, tackling antisocial behaviour and supporting neighbourhood policing.
As a city councillor from 2002 until 2015, I worked alongside the neighbourhood policing team in my ward, gaining insights into the value of local policing. To make neighbourhood policing more effective and more visible, I would encourage police to use cycles rather than cars for non-emergency patrols.
The illegal drug trade fuels the gun and gang culture on Merseyside: the police and the community need to act against it. The PCC should speak to government about its failure to either reconsider the need for drugs to continue to be illegal or else provide adequate funding to deal with the consequences.
In the meantime, resources should not be wasted punishing people with a medical condition which they manage by cultivating a few cannabis plants.
The PCC should build trust between every part of the public and the police. I would monitor and review local policing to make sure the police were not seen to be acting in an oppressive way against any element of the public, such as ethnic minorities or vulnerable people, particularly the homeless or those in fear of eviction.
This form has been prepared by John Coyne, 86 Belgrave Road Liverpool L17 7AH
Re-elect Jane Kennedy as Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner
I am asking the people of Merseyside to re-elect me as their Police Commissioner on 5th May.
The Tories have cut police budgets hard and areas like Merseyside have lost a huge number of jobs. Since 2010 we have lost 1600 police officers and staff due to the Tories savage cuts. I fought hard to stop them from cutting the Force even further and thanks to a strong public response last October, over 16,000 people signed my petition in just two weeks.
As a result of public pressure George Osborne promised to stop any further cuts and so we can save our PCSOs, our mounted unit and neighbourhood patrols along with a wide range of other services which were under threat. I am in no doubt that if I had not challenged him about the cuts and if Merseysiders had ignored my petition, we would be in grave danger of reducing the police force to a ‘blue light’ only emergency service.
But there is something to celebrate. In spite of being one of the hardest hit by Tory cuts Merseyside Police have been judged to be one of the best performing metropolitan police forces in England by the independent police inspectorate, HMIC.
As Merseyside Police Commissioner I will:
Work hard with the Chief Constable to maintain this outstanding performance
Build even better services for the victims of crime
Work hard to make our roads safer for all
Fight against further cuts to the police budget
With the support of the people of Merseyside I can do this and more. That is why I am seeking re-election on May 5th 2016.
Promoted by Peter Dowling on behalf of Jane Kennedy at 108 Prescot Road, Liverpool L7 0JA
Who are the 4 candidates in the 2016 election of a Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside?
This year (2016) people will have a vote in who their Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside will be. Pictured above (on the left) is the current Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Jane Kennedy, who is standing for re-election in 2016 as the Labour Party candidate.
Unlike in November 2012, when the election of a Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside was held on a different day to other elections, the Police and Crime Commissioner vote will be combined with the election of local councillors and in Liverpool the election of the Mayor of Liverpool.
There are four candidates to choose from (Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green or Labour) for Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside and their details are in the table below. They are listed below in alphabetical order by surname (which will be the way they are listed on the ballot papers too).
Address of candidate
David Robert BURGESS-JOYCE
19 Millhouse Lane, Moreton, Wirral, CH46 6HL
Christopher David Vincenzo CARUBIA
81 Bridle Road, Eastham, Wirral, CH62 8BU
John Bernard Cowan COYNE
86 Belgrave Road, Liverpool, L17 7AH
Jane Elizabeth KENNEDY
256 Score Lane, Liverpool, L16 5EQ
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Consultation question 2 deals with whether the functions of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority should be transferred to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside. However in the proposed response to the consultation Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority have made it clear that they are against this.
I am quoting from a longer proposed response to consultation question 2. FRS means Fire & Rescue Service. PCC means Police and Crime Commissioner.
“Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (MFRA) wish to make it clear within this response that they have no intention of ceding responsibility of the FRS to the PCC. MFRA believe that as a result of their in depth understanding and experience of the FRS they are best placed to provide the political leadership necessary to support the Service through the next round of budget cuts.”