Pupils rewarded for Anti-Scrambler Bike Project

On Tuesday, 9 February, Merseyside Police will host a prize-giving event which rewards Sefton schoolchildren who have been involved in an anti-scrambler bike education project during the Autumn term in 2017.

The project was set up by Constable Alan Thompson from Bootle Neighbourhood team, Sefton Council, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and aims to highlight the impact off-road bikes have on local communities in Sefton.

The five schools involved are:

  • Hatton Hill Primary School, Alwyn Avenue, Bootle
  • Lander Primary School, Pennington Road, Litherland
  • All Saints Primary School, Chestnut Grove, Bootle
  • The Grange Primary School, Waterside, Bootle
  • English Martyrs Primary School, School Lane, Litherland (will not be at the event)

Early in 2017, Year 5 pupils at the schools received education on the dangers of off-road bikes and impact they cause in their communities. Assemblies have been given to each of the primary schools from Merseyside Police, Sefton Council Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and Alder Hey Hospital. Once the pupils returned to school to begin their Year 6 studies, they each designed and filmed a 90-second video. They have also taken part in a trip to Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre and an awareness day in the Yorkshire Dales, where demonstrations were given on how to use bikes appropriately at designated locations.

The 15 winners of the video competition will be presented their certificates by Andy Grant, former Royal Marine, motivational speaker, athlete and star of ITV show Paragon and Pete Price, DJ from Radio City, before the grand unveiling of the top-secret children’s prize, a ski trip to Scotland. Their videos will also be used in a publicity campaign in the Sefton area.

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: “We know that these bikes can cause significant nuisance, stress and danger to members of our communities across Merseyside, and we will continue to stand alongside our partners and communities in our commitment to eradicating the problem. We strongly believe that education and engagement is vital, so that parents, guardians and future generations understand the impact and harm that we see on a regular basis. Together, we can all make a difference to make our streets safer.

“We hope that by getting involved in this exciting project, these young people have learned some valuable lessons to share far and wide, and that they enjoy tonight’s event and their reward.”

Merseyside Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “I’m delighted to see this great local initiative running for a second year.

“Nuisance bikes are a blight on the whole community. That is why it is so important we engage with young people from an early age to make them aware of the potential dangers and help steer them away from getting involved with the anti-social and illegal use of bikes. It is clear from the videos which have been produced that, once again, the pupils involved have shown real enthusiasm and energy for this project. Their work will be used to send out a strong message about the harm these bikes can cause.”

“I congratulate the winners and all the young people who have taken part, as well as the officers and staff who have worked on this fantastic campaign.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “It is really pleasing to see so many Sefton school pupils being recognised like this through such an important project.

“Our local communities have told us how scrambler bikes are a problem for them and through this initiative important messages about the risks and dangers of using them have been learnt.

“It is also another great example of partnership working and engaging with our communities to make Sefton a safer place for everyone.”

Help available to Loan Shark Victims who have been bitten over Festive period

January is traditionally known as the ‘blue month’ or the ‘money hangover’ as people are often strapped for cash after splurging big amounts on Christmas.

January is also the time of year where loan sharks start to bite and chase victims for the first repayment on a Christmas loan. Due to people being short of money, some borrowers might fail to meet the first settlement and receive threats from the lender. This is when a loan shark’s true colours and motive begin to show.

The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a national team that investigate and prosecute loan sharks – are here to help victims who have fallen into deep waters with a loan shark during the festive season.

The team – who run a 24hour hotline all year round – are made up of Investigators and support officers who meet with victims on a daily basis and build up prosecution files to stop loan sharks in their deceiving tracks.

Victims who have been bitten over the festive period or who are currently being put through a miserable time because of a loan shark are being urged to contact the IMLT to report what’s happening.

The team will take information anonymously and in confidence; you don’t have to give your name and an officer will go through your options first before taking the report.

Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner, Cllr Emily Spurrell, said: “Christmas is an expensive time and it can be tempting to access cash quickly from a loan shark to purchase those all-important presents.

“But what starts out as a small loan can quickly escalate into something much more serious. January is a time when borrowers may find themselves trapped by spiralling debt and facing intimidation, threats and even violence.

“Loan sharks are unscrupulous criminals who prey on vulnerable victims, causing untold misery.

“But borrowers do not have to live in fear, there is help and support available. If you do find yourself a victim of a loan shark then do not suffer in silence – speak out by contacting Merseyside Police on 101 or, if it is an emergency, 999 or get in touch with the Illegal Money Lending team 24 hour hotline on 0300 555 2222.”

What is a loan shark?

A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It is a criminal offence to lend money without authorisation and can lead to a 2-year prison sentence and/or £5,000 fine.

How do I know if I’ve borrowed from a loan shark?

Loan sharks typically start off friendly and are often heard of through word of mouth. It could be a friend, colleague, neighbour or someone who is well known in the community for helping others out financially.

If you have had a cash loan and can answer yes to one or more of these questions, you might have borrowed from a loan shark:

  • Did they not give you paperwork?
  • Did they add huge amounts of interest or APR to your loan?
  • Have they threatened you?
  • Are you scared of people finding out?
  • Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?

The IMLT will be with you every step of the way from the moment you make the call. You will receive one-to-one support; this might be help with housing, debt issues or referrals for health problems.

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “January is a difficult month for some people. It can be even more of a glum time for loan shark victims as lenders start chasing them for the first repayment on their Christmas loan. We want to reassure victims that they have not broken the law and help and support is available. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a loan shark during the festive period, please call us on 0300 555 2222 or visit www.stoploansharks.uk.”

To check if a money lender is licensed, borrowers can also search the Financial Services Register: https://register.fca.org.uk/

New Year, New Challenge? Become a Volunteer!

Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner is inviting anyone looking for a new challenge for 2018 to consider becoming an independent custody visitor.

Cllr Emily Spurrell is looking to recruit more volunteers to be part of an important scheme which sees members of the community check on the welfare of people detained in police custody.

The Independent Custody Visiting programme was established following the investigation into the Brixton riots in 1981 and is now the responsibility of Police and Crime Commissioners to operate in their respective areas across the country.

The scheme sees volunteers undertake random, unannounced visits of police cells to check on the conditions and make sure those being held are being cared for appropriately.

There is currently a committed team of 23 volunteers who dedicate their time to the scheme, but the Deputy Commissioner is now looking to get up to 10 more people involved.

The volunteers visit the region’s custody suites in pairs, at varied times of the night and day, throughout the year. Once on site, they check on the welfare of those detained and the conditions within the suite and produce a report for the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, and her Deputy. They can then raise any issues directly with Merseyside Police.

Emily said: “Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) carry out an important public duty which provides reassurance to the public, the police and to me that we are detaining men and women here on Merseyside properly and caring for them appropriately.

“Detainees are potentially vulnerable and visits by our ICV volunteers are a key protection for them and a vital part of our criminal justice system, ensuring their legal entitlements and rights are respected.

“This is an interesting and rewarding role where volunteers can make a real difference within their community and get an insight into how our police system operates. By volunteering for this scheme, people can play their part in promoting the highest standards of policing. This is a fantastic opportunity for people who are looking for a new challenge for the New Year.”

The ICV scheme in Merseyside has been in operation since April 1984, when 20 members of the public were trained as visitors.

Last year, Merseyside’s ICV volunteers made a total of 265 impromptu trips to custody suites in the region, offering to see more than 2,300 detainees.

ICVs must have good observational and thinking skills, strong ethical principles and be able to maintain confidentiality. They should also be comfortable challenging authority if required. Ideally the volunteers will also come from a range of backgrounds, ages and experience.

Volunteers must be over 18 years old and live or work in the Merseyside area. Full training will be given. It is expected that volunteers make one visit a month.

How can I apply?

If you would like to apply to be an ICV, please complete the application form and equality and diversity monitoring form below and forward to the OPCC via email or post at the contact details below by Friday 2nd February 2018:

Application Form

Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside,
Allerton Police Station,
Rose Lane,
Liverpool,
L18 6JE

Tel: 0151 777 5155

Email: OPCC.ICV@merseyside.pnn.police.uk

For more information, please refer to the recruitment pack below:

Recruitment Pack

You can also find out more about the ICV scheme here. If you any have any other queries, do not hesitate to get in contact with the OPCC on the email address or telephone number provided.

PCC releases £45,000 to help young people make right choices

Community groups which work to divert young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour are being given the chance to bid for grants for projects running during the autumn half-term, thanks to Merseyside’s Police Commissioner.

Jane Kennedy has confirmed that she is once again releasing a round of funding from the Police Property Act Fund (PPA), which allows money raised from the sale of unclaimed stolen goods or property recovered by the police to be used for good causes.

It is the eighth time the Commissioner has invited community organisations, charities and groups to apply for a vital cash boost of up to £5,000 grants for grassroots initiatives which are working to help young people to make the right choices. A total of £45,000 is available from the fund for one-off grants for organisations which are committed to improving community safety, reducing crime or supporting victims.

Jane has already awarded nearly £288,000 through the PPA to organisations that are making a difference in their communities. Since July 2015, the fund has been used to concentrate on youth engagement initiatives.

The Commissioner said: “I am pleased to once again open up the Police Property Act Fund for bids of up to £5,000 to organisations which are working to make their communities safer and better places to live by engaging with young people.

“Many communities across Merseyside traditionally see a rise in criminal and anti-social behaviour during the autumn half-term, particularly around Bonfire and Mischief Night. Historically, it is also a particularly busy time for the police and the fire service. Through these grants, I want to help alleviate these issues and prevent local young people from making mistakes they may regret in the future.

“Once a young person gets a criminal record it can blight their future prospects. If we can prevent them from making mistakes at a young age we can look forward to their positive contribution to their neighbourhoods.

“I want to see these grants used to support projects that complement the excellent diversionary work carried out by Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, ensuring that young people can enjoy the autumn festivities in a safe and enjoyable way which is properly supervised.”

Last year, more than 12,000 young people were able to join organised activities run through 22 different initiatives funded through the PPA over the Halloween and Bonfire Night celebrations.

Jane added: “Local people know their communities best. They know what works when engaging with their young people and I am looking forward to reviewing their ideas and initiatives for ensuring everyone can have a safe and fun Halloween.”

The PPA fund is administered by the Community Foundation for Merseyside, (CFM) on behalf of the Commissioner. CFM holds funds from individuals and organisations as donors who wish to support deserving causes in Merseyside.”

All applications must be submitted online via the Community Foundation for Merseyside by 5pm on Monday 21st August. Please visit their website http://www.cfmerseyside.org.uk/funds/police-property-act-fund to apply.

Police and Crime Panel approve Merseyside PCC’s budget plan

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner’s proposals to balance the region’s police budget in the face of on-going government grants cuts have been approved by the Police and Crime Panel.

The Panel considered and unanimously approved Jane Kennedy’s plans to offset the impact of a £3.3m funding shortfall caused by a Government cut to Merseyside Police’s grant funding.

Her proposal included increasing the police precept, collected as part of the Council Tax, by 1.95%. While Government ministers assumed that taxpayers could pay more to offset the shortfall in the grant they provided, Jane only included this increase after consulting with local people.

More than XXX people responded to the consultation, with XX% of respondents supporting the proposal to pay slightly more in order to protect local policing. The increase works out as 4p a week or £2 a year for a Band A household – the amount paid by the majority of tax payers on Merseyside.

Now the Police and Crime Panel have signalled their endorsement of the Commissioner’s plans, she will ask the region’s local authorities to implement the increase this April.

Even with this extra contribution by local people through the police precept, the Commissioner and Chief Constable will still have to find £8.3m of savings next financial year in order to balance the budget.

Jane said: “Asking people to pay more is something I do extremely reluctantly, but my consultation clearly demonstrated that people are willing to support their local police service and contribute a little extra in order to protect frontline police services. The Police and Crime Panel have also recognised the necessity of this increase and I’m grateful for their support.

“Merseyside Police has lost more than 1,500 officers, PCSOs and staff since 2010, yet still the government fails to safeguard police budgets and, instead, arrogantly assumed local people, who are already feeling the pinch, can help to make up the shortfall.

“This tied my hands. Without local taxpayers agreeing to pay more our police service would have again lost out and we cannot afford to lose any more.

“I thank the public for playing their part in protecting our police service and helping to keep our communities safe.”

 

PCC backs charity campaign to help protect older people from financial abuse

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, has joined Action on Elder Abuse in urging older people and their families to learn how to spot the signs of financial abuse.

Data from the charity suggests that as many as 1,553 older people in Merseyside may currently be experiencing financial abuse.*

Typical financial crimes perpetrated against older people include fraud, forgery or embezzlement; the misuse of proxy decision making powers; ‘doorstep crime’, e.g. bogus tradesmen and postal, phone or internet scams.

Jane Kennedy, Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside, said: “Sadly, elder abuse is a big problem and one that can take place anywhere, even in the victim’s own home. In many cases the perpetrators are known to the victim and may even by the person who has been trusted to care for them.

“All of this can make the reporting of these crimes very difficult, which is why I am working with Action on Elder Abuse to raise awareness of the issue and highlight steps the public can take to combat it.

“It is vital that we draw attention to this problem and bring these often hidden crimes out into the open. I urge anyone who is either being abused themselves or suspects a loved one may be at risk to be vigilant and report it to the police or to Action on Elder Abuse’s confidential helpline.”

The PCC and Action on Elder Abuse have said that older people can help keep themselves safe by:

  • Checking bank statements regularly and tracking receipts
  • Reducing how much money can be taken from an account at any one time
  • Having a copy of the bank statement sent to someone trustworthy to check
  • Limiting the use of ‘chip and pin’ to control money
  • Keeping important documents and valuables out of sight
  • Never letting anyone into your home unless you can confirm their identity or they have made an appointment
  • Only booking work on a house through ‘trusted trader’ schemes
  • Treat anyone asking for your financial details unsolicited with suspicion and note that banks will never ask you for your account number or pin details.

In instances where an older person is not in a position to protect themselves from financial abuse (e.g. they have dementia), the charity advises that families and loved ones stay vigilant to spot the signs that abuse may be taking place. These include:

  • Signatures on official documents that do not resemble the older person’s own
  • Changes in banking habits (e.g. large sums of money being withdrawn)
  • The inclusion of additional names on bank accounts
  • Abrupt changes to, or the sudden establishment of, wills
  • Sudden and unexplained transfers of assets to a family member or someone outside the family
  • The unexplained disappearance of funds or possessions
  • The deliberate isolation of an older person from friends and family, resulting in a carer having total control.
  • The sudden introduction of a Power of Attorney document that places control with an unknown Third Party

The charity is urging anyone who has concerns that they, or someone close to them is being financially abused to call its confidential helpline (080 8808 8141) which can offer support and advice and support on all aspects of elder abuse.

Action on Elder Abuse Chief Executive, Gary FitzGerald, said: “Unfortunately, older people are particularly vulnerable to financial abuse and there are far too many people who seek to exploit them. Financial abuse can take many forms – it’s everything from carers or family pilfering money to phone scams and having Power of Attorney misappropriated. Very often, the perpetrator is someone close to the older person, such as a relative or carer.

“So we want to equip older people to protect themselves where appropriate and for those who love them to spot the signs that their older friend or relative may be being abused. Talking about things such as internet safety and ‘stranger danger’ is something we do routinely with our children. It’s about time we took the issue of abuse of older people just as seriously.”

Action on Elder Abuse operates a confidential helpline (080 8808 8141) offering advice and support on all aspects of elder abuse.

AREA ALL OVER 65 NUMBER OF OLDER PEOPLE LIKELY TO BE EXPERIENCING ABUSE
Knowsley 24,644 147
Liverpool 70,039 420
Sefton 61,809 370
St. Helens 35,384 212
Wirral 67,007 402
Merseyside (Met County) 258,883 1553

* Figure calculated using UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People Prevalence Survey Report (O’Keefe et al 2007) and ONS data.

Action on Elder Abuse is a UK-wide charity with a presence in all four nations. It aims to protect and prevent the abuse of vulnerable older people by raising awareness of the issues, encouraging education and giving information and support to those in need.

It has the only national freephone helpline (Elder Abuse Response) dedicated to this cause, open Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm on 080 8808 8141 for confidential support and information.

For more information, please visit www.elderabuse.org.uk

 

Plans for new Merseyside Police Headquarters unveiled

The PCC has today unveiled plans for a new headquarters for Mersey Police on a key gateway into Liverpool.

Following a year-long evaluation of all the options, Jane Kennedy’s preferred choice for the future of Merseyside Police headquarters is to develop a new purpose-built headquarters on a site on Scotland Road in Everton ward.

Even by conservative estimates, building a new headquarters will be £780,000 cheaper than refurbishing the existing police headquarters in Canning Place. A more efficient and environmentally-friendly new build headquarters will also be £380,000 a year cheaper to run and maintain, helping the organisation to save £15.5m compared to the cost of keeping Canning Place over the next 40 years.

The new headquarters will consist of a four-storey building with a single-storey annex, housing nearly 850 officers, PCSOs, and staff in largely open-plan offices, as well as providing meeting rooms, a lecture theatre and break-out spaces. It will be located on a predominantly brownfield site, largely owned by Liverpool City Council and bound by Scotland Road, St Anne Street and the approach road to the Queensway tunnel. It is also adjacent to the Force’s existing St Anne Street site.

Jane said: “It has been a complex and thorough process to get to the position where I can make this decision today. Extensive evaluations have been undertaken which confirm that building a new headquarters on Scotland Road is the most effective, efficient and economical way to ensure that Merseyside Police is able to tackle crime and protect our communities now and for years to come.”

Take a look at the full details here:
http://www.merseysidepcc.info/36/section.aspx/35/plans_for_new_merseyside_police_headquarters_unveiled

PCC launches new service to improve care for vulnerable adults in police custody

Vulnerable adults in Merseyside will be given improved care when they are detained in police custody thanks to a new scheme commissioned by the region’s Police Commissioner.

Jane Kennedy stepped in after being made aware by Merseyside Police about the delays in obtaining Appropriate Adults to support people with learning disabilities, those in mental ill health or those who present as particularly vulnerable and who are being held in police cells.

Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, which regulates the actions of the police service, Appropriate Adults are required when vulnerable detainees are being booked into custody and also when they are being interviewed, either after being arrested or when they have voluntarily attended at a police station.

Despite this, Merseyside Police were reporting that vulnerable people were often being forced to wait to be dealt with because of a shortage of available Appropriate Adults in the region. These delays make them even more vulnerable and worsen their situation.

In partnership with the Force, the Commissioner has developed a new service to address these concerns. Following an open selection process, the Commissioner has today announced that she has appointed The Appropriate Adult Service (TAAS) to provide Appropriate Adults for all detained vulnerable people, seven days a week for a six-month pilot period.

Appropriate Adults are specially trained individuals who can assist vulnerable detainees to understand the custody process. They provide independent and impartial support and act as advocates, ensuring that detainees understand their rights, are treated fairly and assist with communication between the person and officials.

During this pilot programme the Commissioner, Merseyside Police and other partner agencies will evaluate the service in order to determine how a long term service should work. TAAS already provide this service in other police force areas and have a 100% record in meeting all referrals.

Jane said: “If a vulnerable person is detained, the first action of the police is always to try and find a suitable family member, carer or guardian who can provide care and support. Sadly, not everyone has someone on hand who can provide that level of help.

“In those cases where a vulnerable adult has no support, an Appropriate Adult can be a real lifeline. So I was concerned to hear that Merseyside Police were finding there were often significant delays when trying to obtain somebody who could step in to act as an advocate for them.

“It is imperative a vulnerable person has the right help and support and is dealt with as quickly as possible. People who have learning disabilities, are experiencing mental health problems or are particularly vulnerable should not be detained any longer than absolutely necessary.

“By commissioning The Appropriate Adult Service to provide this service my aim is to reduce delays and unnecessary stress for vulnerable people, make sure they understand their rights and in turn improve the care they receive.

“I am pleased that The Appropriate Adult Service are now co-ordinating this service on Merseyside and I would like to recognise and thank those who give their time and energy to support others at often a difficult time.”

An Appropriate Adult should be someone who is completely independent of both the police and the detained person. They should have a sound understanding of, and experience or training in, dealing with the needs of someone who is in mental ill health or has a mental disorder.

Merseyside Police’s Chief Superintendent Carl Krueger said: “Merseyside Police would welcome any additional support to assist the vulnerable people in our communities.

“We understand that being detained in custody can be a stressful experience and any delays can make the situation feel even worse for a vulnerable person.

“Having this extra support at hand means that vulnerable people can be dealt with quicker and they are not detained any longer than they need to be.”

The Commissioner has provided £50,000 to provide this service for a six-month pilot period so that the level of need can be assessed in the short term. She will look to work with the region’s local authorities so a long term pan-Merseyside service can be established.

Find out more about the Appropriate Adult scheme here.

CLINKS: Has probation been transformed? The voluntary sector’s story

Nathan Dick – 27th May 2016. (Full article here)

“Fifteen months after the launch of new probation services and the implementation of Transforming Rehabilitation – what has changed? Today we launch our new report Change and challenge‘ that summarises the voluntary sector’s experience and makes seven recommendations for change.

The probation service has undergone radical change, with Probation Trusts split in 2014 into a public sector National Probation Service (NPS) and 21 new Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) owned since February 2015 by eight, primarily private, providers. The NPS advises courts on the sentencing of all offenders and manages those presenting higher risk of serious harm to the public, while CRCs supervise offenders presenting a low and medium risk of harm.

These reforms have had a lot of recent attention, with the National Audit Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation recently publishing reports into Transforming Rehabilitation. There is a growing body of evidence as to how new services are bedding in, which we hope this new Clinks report will add to in a constructive and informed way.”

The voluntary sector’s story

When the new CRC providers were announced, the Ministry of Justice stated that ‘75% of the 300 subcontractors named in the successful bids are voluntary sector or mutual organisations‘ and that the voluntary sector would be ‘at the frontline of offender rehabilitation‘. However, since that announcement it has been almost impossible to gauge what role the sector has been playing, with no official information in the public domain about the voluntary setor’s involvement in supply chains, what they are delivering, where, or how much they’re funded to deliver it.

Over the last fifteen months since new probation services were launched, the voluntary sector has taken the time and energy to work with Clinks and lay out their experiences; for that we are very grateful. We have received over 300 survey responses accross two surveys, over 90 attendees at a consultation event, and various meetings and phone calls to help guide us through our understanding of the ‘on the ground’ reality.

There are concerns out there in the voluntary sector, some of which need immediate attention. The transformation of probation has been slow. Local voluntary organisations are struggling to find the investment that might keep them alive, yet their vital rehabilitation and resettlement services continue to get frequent referrals; 50% still receive and accept referrals from probation, and over two thirds receive referrals from prisons. These organisations support people to reform and their closure could have serious consequences for communities, families and people who desperately need the right assistance to change their lives.

We have closed our referral system as we can’t manage our services without additional resource”. – Survey respondent

Only ¼ of the 151 voluntary organisations surveyed were being funded by a new Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), and only 1 had direct funding from the National Probation Service (NPS). Of those that are being funded 70% are delivering pre-existing services, delivering the status quo rather than transformation. Those that did receive funding were disproportionately larger voluntary sector organisations, with very few smaller or medium sized organisations represented.

We have been told the premise of Transforming Rehabilitation was the meaningful involvement of small and local organisations. In reality, the exact opposite to that has happened”. – Survey respondent

Many voluntary sector organisations could not say whether Transforming Rehabilitation had negatively or positively impacted on services or service users, possibly because of the slow pace of change. But those that had seen a change were more likely to report it as negative rather than positive; in some cases considerably more likely. Only 3 in 10 organisations felt that the level of funding provided by CRCs allowed them to deliver a high quality service.

“…seeing more people for less money impacts upon quality. Good offender work always has been built on strong relationships.– Survey respondent

The voluntary sector’s relationship with probation is being negatively affected by a lack of communication, with many being left in the dark as to what is happening. This has led to reports of confusion and uncertainty about what services are being offered, where, and by who.

Since TR we have very little (almost none) direct contact with senior CRC managers. We are left to ‘paddle our own canoe’. Communication is a one way street. ” – Survey respondent

Deputy PCC praises volunteers who check on welfare of detainees

A series of unannounced checks were made of police custody cells across the North West and North Wales yesterday as part of a coordinated visit by the region’s independent volunteers to mark National Volunteers Week.

Simultaneous visits were made at the custody suites in St Helens, St Anne Street, Copy Lane and on the Wirral, as well as stations across the entire region at precisely 7.30pm by the Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) to mark the national celebration event which this year runs from June 1st to June 12th.

ICVs are volunteers who undertake random checks on police facilities to make sure those who are being kept in the cells are being cared for appropriately and in the correct conditions.

The visits were co-ordinated and overseen by the offices of the respective Police and Crime Commissioner, which operate the Independent Custody Visiting scheme in their areas.

The voluntary ICV scheme was established following the recommendations of Lord Scarman in 1981 after his investigation into the Brixton riots and first began to operate in Merseyside in April 1984, with 20 members of the public being trained as visitors. There are now 33 dedicated volunteers in Merseyside and over the last year they have carried out a total of 245 spot checks at custody suites across the region, offering to check on those who are being held.

On Friday evening, Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner Cllr Sue Murphy joined the Chair of the ICV scheme, Reverend Peter Beaman, to carry out visits to the cells at Copy Lane and St Anne Street police stations.

Today she has thanked the volunteers for their dedication today and throughout the year.

Sue said: “Our fantastic volunteers dedicate their free time to travel around the region making sure those who are being held in police cells are being treated fairly and correctly.

“This safeguard is in place to ensure that the way we detain men and women, young and old is appropriate and fair.

“Detainees are potentially vulnerable and these visits by our volunteers are an important protection for them and provide real reassurance to me, to Chief Officers and to the public that all is well in our justice system.

“I saw for myself on Friday just how important this scheme is to the people who have been detained and, as we celebrate Volunteers Week, I would like to thank our 33 volunteers who give their time so generously for their hard work, dedication and commitment.”

Volunteers’ Week is an annual event which takes place at the start of June. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. It’s run by NCVO in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy.

This year the event has been extended to last an extra five days to enable even more people to participate. The end of Volunteers’ Week will also coincide with the Patron’s Lunch on 12 June, a celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s lifetime of service to more than 600 charities and organisations to which The Queen acts as a Patron, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

Find out more about Volunteers’ Week.

 

More victims to get answers as PCC confirms restorative justice service will run for second year

A service that helps victims of crime to get answers from offenders will be run for a second year, Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has confirmed today.

In 2015, Jane Kennedy announced that she would be working with Merseyside’s Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) and not-for-profit community interest company Restorative Solutions to raise awareness of restorative justice and increase its use in the region, giving victims in Merseyside the chance to come face-to-face with offenders and make them realise the consequences of their crimes.

Following confirmation of Ministry of Justice funding, the Commissioner is now enabling the service to continue to run for a second year, through 2016 and into 2017. Following a rigorous tendering exercise, Jane has announced today that the CRC and Restorative Solutions will once again deliver a victim-led restorative justice scheme across the whole of Merseyside.

Jane said: “Restorative justice gives victims the chance to be heard, to get answers and to get a sense of closure. Giving victims who want to the chance to come face-to-face with those who have committed crimes against them and can help them to find a really positive way forward and even give them back some control over their anxieties.

“While restorative justice may not be for everyone, the aim is to ensure any victim of crime who feels this approach could benefit them is able to find out more, discuss their options with an experienced and accredited practitioner and decide if it really is for them. That’s exactly what the CRC and Restorative Solutions are providing on Merseyside.

“Not only that, but they are raising awareness to make sure more and more victims of crime know that this is a path they can take if they feel it could help them.

“I am pleased that the CRC and Restorative Solutions will continue to deliver this service for people across Merseyside, no matter where they live.”

Merseyside CRC and Restorative Solutions will continue to work closely with Merseyside Police and all the Commissioner’s criminal justice partners to deliver this service over the next 12 months, with the four key aims of increasing access; working with criminal justice partners to increase the number of restorative justice referrals; improving awareness and understanding of restorative justice and its benefits and delivering a high quality service focussed on the needs of victim and delivered by a trained facilitator.

Through this service, restorative justice is available at all stages of the criminal justice process, including pre-conviction and even in cases where a victim has not reported an offence to the police.

Restorative justice should always be voluntary and only takes place after both the victim and offender agree and a trained facilitator has assessed the case as suitable. This means a lot of careful preparatory work is required before a victim and offender meet. Victims also have the opportunity to withdraw at any point.

In February, the CRC hosted a major conference at the Anglican Cathedral which aimed to give the public a wider understanding of restorative justice and the impact it can have, both on the victim and the offender. Those who attended heard of the “tremendous benefit” a restorative justice conference had for a woman who chose to meet her partner’s killer, helping her to come to terms with what had happened.

Merseyside CRC’s Head of Operations and Development John Quick said: “We are so pleased to have been re-commissioned to deliver victim led Restorative Justice  in Merseyside for the next 12 months.”

The CRC and Restorative Solutions have previously delivered specialist restorative justice training to specific teams within Merseyside Police. This training aimed to equip PCSOs with greater knowledge and understanding of restorative justice to enable them to identify the cases where a victim would benefit from participating to help them cope and recover.

You can contact the Restorative Justice  team on 08452660761 or Email rjenquiries@merseyside.probation.gsi.gov.uk

 

Grassroots organisations to benefit from Merseyside PCC’s fund to cut crime

Twelve grassroots organisations which work to cut crime and protect communities on Merseyside have been awarded a share of more than £132,000 by the Police Commissioner.

Jane Kennedy received dozens of bids from community groups, charities and third sector organisations after opening up applications for grants from her Crime Prevention Fund for the third year running. A total of 116 bids were submitted for grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 with the total combined value being requested amounting to more than £1.7m.

The aim of the fund is to help local groups protect their communities, by stopping problems before they occur, reducing the opportunities for crime and by preventing people from becoming involved with anti-social and illegal behaviour.

Today, Jane has announced the 12 successful organisations which will each be given a share of this round of funding to make a difference in their neighbourhoods. Many of the organisations focus on preventing young people getting involved with crime and raising their awareness of key issues.

Among the successful organisations were the Royal Court Liverpool Trust who were awarded £20,000 to continue to run their hard-hitting drama Terriers. Terriers has received rave reviews from schools for helping to raise awareness among young people of the dangers of getting involved with gun and gang crime.

The Commissioner also awarded £15,000 to the Ariel Trust to help run their ‘It’s not OK!’ project aimed at providing resources to support teachers to deliver preventative education to young people on a range of issues, including domestic, homophobic and online abuse.

The funding will also go to Breckfield and North Everton Neighbourhood Council (BNEC) to help them deliver their Making Waves project which delivers both outreach and centre-based services for young people living in areas of high deprivation. £18,000 was allocated to BNEC to help run a free gym and fitness sessions, as well as gun and knife crime awareness workshops.

A scheme to improve the skills, lives and well-being of unemployed young people in some of Liverpool’s most deprived areas will also benefit from the grants. Employability Solutions received £9,000 to help run their ‘This is my Story’ project which focuses on tackling gun and gang related problems in the Speke and Garston area

Other successful projects will look to increase awareness of forced marriage in schools which have been identified as having high-risk students, a scheme to prevent repeat incidents of domestic abuse, increase knowledge and awareness of abusing legal highs and substance in schools, colleges, workplaces and youth clubs across Merseyside and a scheme which supports serious substance misusers to recover from addiction.

The funding will also be used to support Liverpool Pride by providing funding for its ‘COME OUT of the shadows’ campaign which will see popular landmarks across the city lit up to help build awareness of LGBT issues. The project will initially see the Three Graces, the Radio City Tower and the Wheel of Liverpool illuminated.

Jane said: “Once again I received a staggering response to my invitation for bids for my Crime Prevention Fund.  The number and quality of the bids I received demonstrates the wealth of fantastic initiatives taking place across Merseyside to prevent and tackle crime and keep our communities safe.

“I am delighted to announce that 12 organisations will this year benefit from a cash boost from the Fund. Each of these organisations are taking an innovative approach to addressing the issues they have identified in the communities they serve. They each showed genuine passion and a real drive to make a difference.

“Providing these small grants to prevent crime before it occurs can have a huge impact in the long term by helping to deter people, especially young people, from entering the criminal justice system, reducing the number of victims and making our communities better places to live.

“I look forward to seeing all these projects being delivered over the next year.”

Organisations who applied for the funding needed to show how their project would work to tackle the objectives set out in the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan. These include tackling serious and organised crime, preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, providing a visible and accessible neighbourhood policing style, supporting victims, protecting vulnerable people and maintaining public safety.

Applications needed to demonstrate how the initiative would deter individuals from committing crime, reduce the number of people entering the criminal justice system, or lower reoffending. They were also assessed to see how well they would protect vulnerable communities. The fund was administered by Liverpool CVS and Sefton CVS.

Successful projects

 Scheme  Funding (£)
 Ariel Trust (It’s Not OK)  15,000
 Breckfield & North Everton Neighbourhood Council (Making Waves)  18,000
 Community Safe  12,000
 Employability Solutions  9,000
 Evolve Tackling Legal Highs & Volatile Substance Abuse  6,000
 Genie in the Gutter  6,000
 Liverpool Pride Lighting Strategy  4,460
 Merseyside Youth Challenge  5,000
 Moving On With Life & Learning Ltd  4,000
 Royal Court Liverpool Trust Ltd (Terriers)  20,000
 Savera Liverpool  14,300
 WEB Merseyside  18,260
 TOTAL  132,020

Standing against Female Genital Mutilation

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner and Merseyside Police have joined forces to pledge their support ahead of International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation this weekend.

The UN marks the international awareness-raising day every on February 6th with the aim of increasing understanding and awareness of this harmful practice which affects millions of women and girls worldwide.

Female Genital Mutilation or FGM, as it is commonly known, refers to all procedures which involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.  It is recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and is also sometimes referred to as female circumcision or cutting.

Globally, it is estimated that between 100 million to 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of genital mutilation. A further three million girls are thought to be at risk of mutilation each year. If current trends continue, 15 million additional girls between the ages of 15 and 19 will be subjected to it by 2030.

In the UK, it is estimated that 137,000 women have been affected by genital mutilation however, the true extent is unknown, due to the hidden nature of the crime.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: ““Female genital mutilation is a barbaric practice that has no place in today’s society.

“Raising awareness of the risks and signs of FGM within our communities and among key agencies and professionals is vital if we are to protect women and girls from harm.

“FGM is not only illegal, it is life-threatening, and it can leave its young victims in real agony with long-term physical and psychological problems.

“While FGM is a deeply sensitive subject, there are no cultural, religious or medical reasons that can ever justify a practice that causes so much suffering. We need everyone to understand FGM is child abuse, it’s illegal and it will not be tolerated.

“I would urge anyone who has been affected by FGM or knows someone who has to come forward confident in the knowledge they will be helped and supported.”

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Kameen from Merseyside Police’s specialist Protecting Vulnerable People Team said: “We are proud to be among many police forces throughout the UK that are supporting International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. This practice is largely perpetuated against children in secret and often without anaesthetic leaving the poor victim in absolute agony and is nothing short of child abuse.

“It is a global problem but one that also exists here in Merseyside, although the true scale is not yet known.

“It is important that we all start talking about FGM as an issue so that it is no longer a taboo amongst communities themselves or the agencies and charities that are there to help them. Frontline police officers and health professionals are now getting the training they need to recognise the signs of FGM taking place and what to do if someone reports it having happened to them or a friend.

“By understanding better what has happened to the victims of this terrible crime, we will be able to gather the evidence we need to bring to justice the people who carry it out.

“The force has officers who are specially trained to investigate offences robustly but also with sensitivity and I would encourage anyone who is a victim or has information to find the courage to come forward and speak to us.  People can call officers on 0151 777 4088 or the non-emergency 101 number.”

If you’re worried about FGM or have concerns about a child being or becoming a victim, you can also call the free 24-hour advice and support line run by the NSPCC on 0800 028 3550 or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

Listen to a survivor’s story here.

Find out more about FGM on the NSPCC website and the NHS Choices website

PCC visits custody suites to see first-hand the work of volunteers

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner joined the chair of her Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) scheme as he carried out a night-time visit to two police stations to check on the welfare of detainees this weekend.

Jane Kennedy accompanied volunteer ICV Advisor Reverend Peter Beaman as he carried out unannounced visits to the custody suites at St Anne Street and Birkenhead police stations on Friday night.

This was the second time the Commissioner has joined the ICVs to witness their work and meet the staff in the custody suites.

The Commissioner is responsible for the ICV scheme, which see volunteers make random visits to custody suites across Merseyside every week to check on the conditions and make sure those who are being kept in the cells are being treated with dignity and respect.

There are currently 33 dedicated volunteers on Merseyside’s ICV scheme and last year they carried out a total of 290 visits speaking to more than 1,850 detainees. Rev. Beaman has been involved in the scheme since 1985 and he invited the Commissioner to join him as he carried out the Friday night visit.

Jane said: “Our Independent Custody Visitors give up their free time to visit police stations at all times of the night and day so they can go and check on the welfare on those who are being kept in the cells.

“They carry out an important public duty which provides reassurance to those detainees, who are potentially vulnerable, as well as to the public, the police and to me.

“I was delighted to accompany Rev. Beaman, who has given more than 30 years dedicated service to this scheme, as he carried out one of his regular visits to both St Anne Street and Birkenhead custody suites during what is a peak time for the police.

“It was really interesting to see for myself the essential work our volunteers do and the interaction they have with both the custody sergeants and officers and those who are being kept in the cells.

“Knowing that Rev. Beaman and the other dedicated volunteers are carrying out these visits on a weekly basis gives me peace of mind and helps the public to know that those who are being detained are kept in safe and appropriate conditions and receiving care of the highest standard.”

The ICV scheme was established following the recommendations of Lord Scarman in 1981 after his investigation into the Brixton riots and first began to operate in Merseyside in April 1984, with 20 members of the public being trained as visitors.

Find out more about the scheme here.

‘Tackling Inequality in the Criminal Justice System’ – a new report from Clinks

Many equality and minority groups are overrepresented in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and a large proportion of the people in the CJS face some form of discrimination or disadvantage because of being from
an equality and/or minority group.
‘Tackling Inequality in the Criminal Justice System’ summarises presentations given at a Clinks seminar by organisations working to tackle inequality in the CJS and highlights learning points for voluntary and statutory organisations.