What questions did the public ask Jane Kennedy about antisocial behaviour in Birkenhead?

What questions did the public ask Jane Kennedy about antisocial behaviour in Birkenhead?

What questions did the public ask Jane Kennedy about antisocial behaviour in Birkenhead?


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Jane Kennedy (Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside) answering questions from the public at a meeting of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee (Thursday 28th May 2015)
Jane Kennedy (Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside) answering questions from the public at a meeting of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee (Thursday 28th May 2015)

Jane Kennedy (Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside) answered questions from the public about antisocial behaviour in Birkenhead at a meeting of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee held in Birkenhead Town Hall last Thursday evening.

First to ask a question was Paul Haywood. He had seen police officers patrolling Birkenhead in pairs or in pairs of police community support officers but he asked why the two weren’t mixed together? He also asked what police specials were.

Jane Kennedy replied, "In years past, when PCSOs [police community support officers] were introduced, we had more of them and we had more officers in the workforce there would have been more resilience to be able to pair officers with PCSOs. The bare truth is that now that is no longer the case."

Mr Haywood added that pairing PSCOs with police officers would give the PSCOs the experience they need to become police specials.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside answered, "First of all that route into the police is primarily the most successful route for candidates who are joining the force, although we just learned today a period of no recruitment as officers, we are still recruiting PCSOs and people who have had experience as specials, special constables or as PCSOs are usually most successful when it comes to applying to be a full constable.

So we’ve seen quite significant movement through into the force from PCSOs, so you’re right in the sense that having that experience helps, but what you have to hold in mind is that they are doing different jobs. Leaving aside the specials for the moment, police officers even working together in a neighbourhood team are performing slightly different roles to the PCSOs, whose primary focus is engagement and listening and communicating and gathering information. Arresting and responding to reports of crime is more well, they all do it but primarily that’s the job of these sworn officers.

I’m going to ask the Inspector if she would mind saying what the force policy is in terms of patrolling. I don’t think there’s a bar on them patrolling together, it’s just a matter of how they are together on a shift."

Inspector Georgina Minnery said, "The question did come to us and we provided a response. Effectively as the Neighbourhood Inspector I have no concerns with patrolling police officers with PCSOs, but as the Commissioner said they do perform different roles.

The PCSOs primarily are a visible role engaging with the community, listening to the community being out on foot whereas we have less police officers as I’m sure you’re aware and those police officers have to respond to incidents. Primarily they do tend to be in police cars, that’s not something I want for PCSOs and for my colleagues. PCSOs don’t go in vehicles as a rule, there are exceptions to that.

So PCSOs parade, sorry patrol on their own in singles or in pairs after a certain time. We tend to patrol in pairs after 6 o’clock in the evening and the police officers as I say they’re responding to incidents as a rule. The PCSOs are out there gathering intelligence and engaging with the community.

I don’t have a problem with them patrolling together if we had those resources available."

Answering the question about specials, Jane Kennedy answered, "It’s only just to say you’ve probably got a definition of what one is in the papers, primarily they are volunteers who come in but are fully trained and equipped to work as a fully sworn constable. So they do have powers of arrest, but they are volunteers, they are receiving expenses only for their work that they do, that’s right and you suggested PSCOs aren’t trained to the same level. PCSOs are trained, we invest heavily in making sure our staff are well trained, but they’re trained for a different role so we’ve already covered that really and I think we’re taking away the idea you suggested it’s common sense."

Mr Andrews from Bidston asked, "I live in the Bidston & St James ward and we’ve had a lot recently of antisocial behaviour from a particular gang of young lads who are aged between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. Now one of the requests that people keep on asking is why the police station in Laird Street was closed down? I know the answer’s going to be because of lack of funds, but when police officers have to come from the main station, here in Birkenhead when there’s a perfectly good facility there, why can that not be utilised at least for part of the day?"

Jane Kennedy said, "I think Laird Street has been has been affected. Certainly most police stations were closed to the public in terms of general enquiry desks some time ago, certainly before my time but Laird Street there was a long discussion at the Police Authority, I’m looking at Moira here, about how best to bring Laird Street back. I consulted on a strategy for police stations like Laird Street last October & November and the public supported the idea of disposing of the buildings like Laird Street which doesn’t lend itself to modern day policing.

Disposing of the building but find in the neighbourhood before we dispose of it a place where we could have a community police station where a regular surgery would be guaranteed to be held by the force and that’s the plan for Laird Street. It’s going to be quite some time before we do that and in the meantime the facilities at Laird Street I’m told are really very poor. So the force isn’t using it, it’s probably because it isn’t fit for them to use either. It’s not condemned or anything but I don’t think it’s a very comfortable place."

Councillor Moira McLaughlin (one of the representatives on the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel) added, "We do have long discussions, I think the issue that we discussed was that plans for closure went ahead before the alternative provision was located and I think that proved a difficulty certainly in Rock Ferry and I know in Laird Street so that was the issue really.

As the plan went forward these alternative provisions weren’t identified, from what I hear you say at the moment I think that’s still the case, is that right?"

Jane Kennedy responded, "Well I wasn’t aware that, I think that Laird Street was occasionally used by the Force but not to any extent. It has been closed to the public for quite some time and the proposal was always to try and find an alternative facility so we never found that. We’re doing it in a staged process over ten years so we don’t have too great a burden on the police budget in terms of capital investment."

Anna from the St James Centre added, "Just to reassure you we are exploring options for supporting the police to have some kind of base within the North End and the St James Centre at the moment. Very early stages but those conversations are happening. Just to reassure you."

Mr Andrews expressed concern that if the police were based in the St James Centre, then at the times the public needed them that the St James Centre wouldn’t be open. Jane Kennedy replied, "I think what we are looking to provide in a community police station is not a base that will be open every day and used by the force but a base where police officers or PCSOs will be guaranteed in an advertised surgery to be available for the public to come and talk to and the feedback I got from the public was that the fact that the force had closed all its general enquiry desks meant that the public felt the force had moved away from them in their locations.

Now what we don’t want is officers, few as they now are, whether they are PCSOs, general enquiry officers or police officers tied to buildings when we need them out working in the street with housing officers, social workers and all of the others who are working to reduce antisocial behaviour.

So what we’ve found in other areas when we have community police stations there would be a modern, in the window if it is finally agreed at the community centre, St James Centre, if that is the place that is decided upon what we intend to do is to have a modern, digital way of telling the public when the surgery is going to be, advertising it on a screen so that it will be regularly updated including information about recent crime trends when the public have been engaged with and asked for information. So that’s the model we’re going to be implementing. I haven’t got one I can show you yet on the Wirral, but we’re working hard to deliver it and as soon as we do we’ll invite you to come and have a look."

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Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

9 thoughts on “What questions did the public ask Jane Kennedy about antisocial behaviour in Birkenhead?”

  1. On the whole i think the Police do a fine job, but their hands are tied, its the courts who are to blame for the state of this countries young who are out of control, maybe when we get out of Europe we can bring back the cane into schools and the courts can birch 18yrs morons who can’t follow the law!

  2. Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms,
    How do the Police do a Fine Job, if their hands are tied? How can the Courts be Responsible or be Blamed? for the State of the Countries Young?. How will getting out of a European Convention on Human Rights help in bringing back the Cane and Birch? and may I ask who the Moron is?
    I was watching a Television program with Parliaments answer to the Political Oracle, you should be asking him how many times the UK have been censured for “Abusing Rights” The last time I looked we were just better than Turkey!!!
    Also what happened in 1215, I can see where the Big “C” is coming from on the Reform of the British Constitution, but Scumbags do have RIGHTS and it is for the Police and other Agencies to work within the Law in Catching them.
    I Love my Country, but it is not for you, I or Scumbags in the Police or other Agencies to be Judge, Jury or Executioner and I have known some Scumbags!!!!!!!!

  3. Forgive me please keef666, if I seem a Little Harsh, I am merely expressing an opinion, but Birching, Caning, Hanging, etc, does seem a little Antisocial? for Youngsters!!!!

  4. The kids are ok. They’re just fine. There’s nothing, other than a little optimism, good fortune, a bright future and a fair measure of hope and opportunity that won’t sort the youngsters out.
    We, my generation gift them a mountain of debt, no skilled jobs, few low skilled jobs and the chance to sleep on their Mam’s settee for the next thirty years and we ask, ‘whatever is the matter with them?’.
    No youngster ever harmed me and I’ll be damned if I join the chorus of ‘the kids are to blame’!
    They’ve done nothing wrong. It was us that created this disfunctional economic model of prosperity that sees an entire generation left out of the wealth creation equation that bloody Capitalists use with the full cooperation of all of us, and What’smore, I can completely understand why some kid who’s got bugger all to do and no bloody where to do it, picking up a stone and throwing it through my bloody back window.
    The kids are ok! It’s us! We are the bloody problem!

    1. Hear Hear Bobby

      Fancy listening to “The Football Shirt” and “The Chamber Potty” over dinner telling their kids it is fine to ignore wrongdoing and protecting criminals.

      “The Pretend Friend” laughing with his kids about how he tricked his once friend.

      “The Shyster” telling his kids to get into the law and you can advise people to keep their gobs shut and ruin peoples lives and get handsomely paid by said people.

      “Spotty Dog” telling his kids he got a promotion to over £200,000.00 and all I have to do is do what Frankenstein and “Ankles” say.

      “Phil the Dill” telling the kids over dinner I am the leader err I think err and I want to be super mayor err I think.

      “Ankles”…enough said.

      Bobby I luv you and I agree totally kids are great it is some parents, like above, that are shit.



  5. Bobby, perhaps that is going to far, whilst I appreciate Social and Economics have a part to play in some youngsters veering from the
    path of good and lawful order. I believe that it is a Partnership between
    the Parents, State, Citizens and the Youngsters themselves.
    I cannot see whatever your politics are that money will solve all the
    problems of the World, it only solves any problems for people who do not have any and I believe in some cases it is a Corrupter in many ways, the old saying the more you get, the more you want.
    There are indeed many reasons why youngsters do what they do Boredom, lack of facilities, wanting what the other child has got and they have not got, lack of Education, etc. I will finish by saying. It is a Collective Responsibility to ensure our Children, Youngsters, Young Adults remain on the straight and narrow.

  6. Mr Brace, I was giving this some more thought, I believe that Ms Kennedy and her colleague the Inspector maybe right, what is needed is Officers on the Ground as opposed to more Stations It would also appear that the progression of Officers through the respective offices (PCSO, Special PC and PC) would tend to give a good grounding for any officers future prospects and it would enable Senior Ranks to weed out less suitable candidates.
    I am however a little concerned as to why Police Stations are being sold off or being managed by other than Police Management and does that give the Landlords Access to Police Stations at ” All Reasonable times ” and Access to Police Information? as well as maybe being a False Economy?
    money going to the private Landlords?.
    I would however state that apart from one or two points raised by Bobby, it would appear the finger of the hand is also on the pulse like Mr G, Mr C, Mr H, Mr M and your Good Self.

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