Merseyside Police support National Firearms Surrender (Saturday 20th July – Sunday 4th August 2019)

This year’s national firearms surrender started on Saturday (20th July) and runs until Sunday 4th August.

It has been two years since the last national surrender, when forces across the UK asked members of the public to surrender unlawfully held or unwanted guns and ammunition to prevent them from getting into criminal hands.

This year’s surrender is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) and will run for two weeks from tomorrow – Saturday 20th July until Sunday 4th August.

During the last national surrender in November 2017 a total of 122 weapons and lots of ammunition were handed in on Merseyside, including 30 viable firearms, an Uzi BB replica gun, smoke canisters and a smoke grenade.

Illegal possession of a firearm can mean five years behind bars and if you are found guilty of possession with intent to supply that can lead to a life sentence.

The focus of this year’s campaign will be on illegal or prohibited items which have been purchased while out of the country or via the internet or items that may have been within a family network such as war trophies, gifts or heirlooms.

The law has also recently changed around decommissioned weapons. Any firearm deactivated before new EU rules – which came into force in June 2018 – are classed as ‘defectively deactivated’ and cannot be sold, purchased or gifted. Firearms that do not meet the specification and are offered for sale must be accompanied by a deactivation certificate with an EU stamp. Previously issued UK certificates are no longer sufficient.

We are also looking to protect vulnerable people who we know are often subjected to violence/bribery or threats in order to hold or store firearms, ammunition or prohibited weapons.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said: “We know at first hand that gun crime devastates communities and destroys families.

“Earlier this month we launched Operation Target which is our pledge to tackle serious and violent crime. Removing guns from the hands of criminals forms part of that pledge.

“We are not under any illusion that criminals will willingly hand over weapons but we know that many firearms are held in innocence and ignorance of their illegality or are overlooked and forgotten in people’s homes. The surrender gives members of the public the chance to dispose of a firearm or ammunition by simply taking it to a local designated police station and handing it in.

“We are also committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our community. We know that criminals often try to take advantage of them and coerce them into hiring or storing weapons or ammunition. If you believe that someone you know could be at risk of this then please tell us so that we can take action.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I have seen too many times the devastation that the use of guns has brought to families and communities. Gun surrenders provide an important opportunity for people to hand in firearms to the police and prevent them being used and endangering the public.

“I join Merseyside Police in urging people to take this chance to surrender your weapon. Every gun given up is one less that poses a threat to the safety of our communities. This initiative allows those in possession of a gun, who do not want to be responsible for what would happen if it was used, to do the right thing.”

The police stations in Merseyside which will be accepting guns and ammunition during the surrender are: Birkenhead, St Helens police station on College Street, St Ann Street, Southport and Huyton but people are being advised to check the opening times of the stations in advance by messaging @MerPolCC, messaging @MerPolCC, calling 101 or visiting the Merseyside Police website – www.merseyside.police.uk

Don’t trick or mistreat during Halloween and Bonfire night!

Merseyside Police is encouraging young people, families and businesses to play their part in helping to keep their communities safe over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.

Officers will be patrolling local neighbourhoods to ensure people can enjoy the festivities in their area safely but Merseyside Police cannot do this alone.

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

 

Police launch festive crackdown on drink and drug driving

MERSEYSIDE Police has launched its annual Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, urging motorists to have ‘None For The Road.’

Officers from the Roads Policing Unit and colleagues across the force will be stepping up patrols throughout the month-long campaign, which runs until Sunday, January 1.

They will be paying particular attention to areas across Merseyside in the evenings and early in the morning, to target those who are risking driving the morning after drinking or taking drugs the night before.

During last year’s Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, officers carried out a total of 7,925 breath tests in Merseyside.

A total of 224 (3%) of all drivers failed the test and were arrested. During the same period, drug impairment and drug tests were carried out, with 66 drivers being arrested.

Sergeant Paul Mountford, of Merseyside Police’s roads policing unit, said: “The numbers of people drink driving on our roads are falling because it has become socially unacceptable.

“We were encouraged last year to see 97% of the people we tested were driving responsibly. Anyone considering taking stupid risks needs to remember that people who drive at twice the current legal alcohol level are at least 50 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision.

“During last year’s campaign, it was disappointing to see a slight increase in motorists drug driving. Therefore, as well as roadside breath tests, our officers will again be undertaking drug impairment tests. Drug testing is now routine at the roadside in Merseyside and cannabis and cocaine are the two most common drugs used by drivers arrested in Merseyside. We have a very high detection rate in these cases of 98%.

“I also want to warn people about the risks of using medicinal drugs. Always read the instructions on the packaging carefully or speak to your GP or chemist. Taking certain medicines with alcohol can severely affect a person’s driving and if the label says ‘do not operate machinery’ that means do not drive.

“Our message to drivers is not to drink or take drugs and then drive, just simply pre-plan your evenings out, use public transport or have a designated non-drinking driver.

“We are all entitled to use the roads safely, be it driving, walking, or cycling.

“ If you know or suspect that someone is drink or drug driving, do not hesitate in reporting them anonymously via Crimestoppers. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and your actions could be saving lives at the festive period and throughout the year.”

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.

Police officers raise cash for cancer care equipment

A group of Merseyside Police officers who set up a charity to raise money for the hospital which cared for a colleague’s daughter have been fundraising again.

The Sefton officers formed ‘Team Phoebe’ to support cystic fibrosis at Ormskirk General Hospital after Martin Duddy’s daughter, Phoebe, was born with the condition four years ago.

But since then, their registered charity ‘Phoebe’s Fund’ has raised money for countless other good causes across Merseyside and last week they presented a cheque for £1,200 to nurses from Liverpool Community Health Trust.

The team raised the money by holding a charity race night at Crosby Comrades Club and it will be used to buy a morphine syringe pump for Macmillan nurses to administer pain relief to cancer patients being cared for at home or in hospices.

The charitable cause was chosen by Kelly Coulton, whose husband Steve, a serving Sefton police officer, died from cancer last year.

Kelly said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in the fundraising for the money to buy the syringe pump. The symptoms of bone cancer can vary greatly but include persistent bone pain that gets worse over time and continues into the night with swelling, redness and a noticeable lump.

“I want to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bone cancer to young people, who might not think they can get it, because the earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat it and treat it successfully. It is important that people go their doctor as soon as possible if they notice worrying symptoms.”

‘Team Phoebe’, as the group of police officers and support staff have called themselves, have previous raised money for the stroke unit at Aintree University Hospital in Fazakerley, a disabled child in Kirkby whose i-pad was stolen in a burglary, and to help the family of another colleague who died suddenly of a heart attack.

Chief Inspector Simon Thompson from Sefton command team, said: “We set the charity up originally to help the hospital that gives such great care to Martin’s little girl Phoebe.

“But when we got talking we realised that there were so many good causes that between us we had been touched by in some way. So we widened it out and started raising money in Phoebe’s name for anyone who needed it.

“The stroke unit at Fazakerley is one that is close to my heart and Steve Coulton was a very dear friend and colleague to many of us. When Kelly asked the team to raise money for a morphine syringe to help relieve the pain for terminally ill cancer patients we were only too happy to help.

“Word has spread about what we do and we’ve had great support from throughout the force and the other services we work with in terms of people coming along to fundraising events. It has really shown the community spirit within this police force and the NHS.”

Sefton area commander, Chief Superintendent Claire Richards, added: “It is testament to this group of Sefton officers that as well as doing busy, difficult jobs they still make time to raise money for people less fortunate than them.

“The charity events they have organised over the years have been very well supported by colleagues within Merseyside Police and I am looking forward to supporting the next good cause Phoebe’s fund chooses.”

Syringe drivers are small, battery-operated portable pumps which deliver a steady flow of injected medication under the skin in a steady, reliable way to control pain.

Claire Johnston, community Macmillan nurse and Kirsten Collins, the district nurse who helped care for Steve towards the end of his life accepted the cheque from Phoebe’s Fund on behalf of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.

They said: “We are so grateful to Team Phoebe for raising this money. The syringe driver is a vital piece of equipment that will help improve the quality of life for our patients nearing the end of life.”

Police Constable Martin Duddy, who continues to raise money while he and his wife care for 4-year-old Phoebe, added: “Since day one when Phoebe was born Ormskirk hospital have been second to none in their support and care.

“Without their help and that of my colleagues and bosses within the police I don’t think I would have been able to cope.

“Phoebe is on lots of medication every single day and my wife has had to give up her own job as a nurse to care for her. But we can’t wrap her up in cotton wool and she’s got to be allowed to be a normal little girl. She certainly rules the roost in our house and it is humbling that so much fundraising by people willing to go above and beyond is being done in her name.”

Sefton area commander, Chief Superintendent Claire Richards, added: “It is testament to this group of Sefton officers that as well as doing busy, difficult jobs they still make time to raise money for people less fortunate than them.

“The charity events they have organised over the years have been very well supported by colleagues within Merseyside Police and I am looking forward to supporting the next good cause Phoebe’s fund chooses.”

Syringe drivers are small, battery-operated portable pumps which deliver a steady flow of injected medication under the skin in a steady, reliable way to control pain.

Claire Johnston, community Macmillan nurse and Kirsten Collins, the district nurse who helped care for Steve towards the end of his life accepted the cheque from Phoebe’s Fund on behalf of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.

They said: “We are so grateful to Team Phoebe for raising this money. The syringe driver is a vital piece of equipment that will help improve the quality of life for our patients nearing the end of life.”

Police Constable Martin Duddy, who continues to raise money while he and his wife care for 4-year-old Phoebe, added: “Since day one when Phoebe was born Ormskirk hospital have been second to none in their support and care.

“Without their help and that of my colleagues and bosses within the police I don’t think I would have been able to cope.

“Phoebe is on lots of medication every single day and my wife has had to give up her own job as a nurse to care for her. But we can’t wrap her up in cotton wool and she’s got to be allowed to be a normal little girl. She certainly rules the roost in our house and it is humbling that so much fundraising by people willing to go above and beyond is being done in her name.”