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A new Merseyside Approach to Child Exploitation and Missing Children

Merseyside Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the five local Safeguarding Boards, Sefton, Wirral, Knowsley, Liverpool and St Helens are coming together to continue the fight against child exploitation and tackle the issue of missing children.

On Tuesday, 1 May the partners will launch new Pan – Merseyside Child Exploitation and Missing Children Protocols, to ensure a consistent approach to tackling these issues right across the region.

Sefton Council Chief Executive Margaret Carney explains: “As individual Safeguarding Boards across Merseyside, we have always worked to our own individual protocols around child exploitation. Last year we decided to build upon this existing work to launch a pan-Merseyside approach. The aim of these protocols is to continue and improve the work already done in individual areas to protect children from exploitation – be that sexual or criminal.

“Exploitation of children exists in lots of different forms and it is not always obvious to the victim or their families, when it first starts happening. We want this joined up approach to not only tackle the problem but also to change culture and opinions. A lot of children involved in crime are actually victims of exploitation and organised crime groups are grooming, coercing and abusing children and young people to work for them. Our new protocol includes pathways and assessments tools that can help all agencies to identify those children who are at risk and help put a stop to this behaviour – offering support to victims, disrupting criminal groups and prosecuting those involved.

“Similarly the new Missing Children Protocol will ensure all missing children are reported and identified at the earliest opportunity to reduce their risk of exploitation and offer the support at the right time.”

The launch event will take place at Everton Football Club and representatives from the local five Safeguarding boards, strategic services such as children’s homes and referral units, alongside representatives from the voluntary sector will be in attendance. Key note speakers such as Sefton Council Chief Executive Margaret Carney, PCC Jane Kennedy and Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, will talk about the issues faced and give details on the implementation of new protocols, and how they will work practically to streamline and improve the processes. Delegates will then be invited to visit stalls, staffed by representatives from the local Safeguarding Boards.

Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “Alongside our partners, we have a duty of care to protect young people from harm and this new innovative, multi-agency approach will mean a consistency across the board.

“The introduction of the new protocols shows how, as a partners, seriously we take these issues and that we are leading the way in putting a stop to child exploitation. Sadly we know child exploitation can affect any young person and have a devastating impact on their lives – that’s why it’s so important for us to work together to ensure we provide the best possible quality of service for those most vulnerable in our communities.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Keeping our young people safe must be a priority for all public agencies. Today’s launch demonstrates that this responsibility is taken very seriously by all the partners here in Merseyside.

“As a region we are committed to working together to deliver a consistent, high-quality service that prevents exploitation of all kinds and protects young people, no matter where they live. Sadly, we know that some young victims do not recognise that they are being exploited. That means we need all professionals to know how to spot the signs that a child may be at risk and take the appropriate steps to keep them safe. These pan-Merseyside protocols provide the tools, the risk assessments and referral pathways to ensure the right response at the right time for young people who may be vulnerable.

“I thank everyone who has worked so hard to get to this point today and to all the partners for their on-going commitment to improving the protection and care we provide for young people in Merseyside.”

Ellie Fairgrieve, Senior Service Coordinator, Catch22 Pan Merseyside Child Exploitation Service: “Catch22 believe there should be no barriers in responding to Child Exploitation, and our team are excited to continue our work with all five local authorities and Merseyside Police to keep children safe. The launch of the revised exploitation protocol, referral forms and risk assessments mean that all forms of exploitation will be considered and that more professionals will understand the risks of criminal exploitation. Merseyside are leading the way in fighting child exploitation and, as practitioners, it’s wonderful to know that young people will receive a consistent response- no matter where they are on Merseyside.”

Residents should contact community officers over Aintree Festival concerns

Merseyside Police is encouraging residents in Aintree and Maghull to contact their Community Policing Team with any issues or concerns they have ahead of the Aintree Festival which gets underway next Thursday (12 April).

With more than 150,000 race-goers set to attend the event across three days from Thursday, April 12 to Saturday, April 14, the community’s dedicated community officers want to make sure residents experience minimal disruption.

Despite the large crowds attending the festival, the vast majority of race-goers have a safe and enjoyable day and a multi-agency operation involving police officers from across the Force will once again aim to ensure this year’s event is no different.

Community officers will speak to residents living in some of the busiest streets around the racecourse to let them know who they can contact if they experience any problems with issues such as car parking, litter and anti-social behaviour during the event.

Community Inspector Ian Jones said: “The Aintree Festival puts Merseyside on the sporting map and the world stage. Thousands of visitors have a great time and we are very grateful to local residents for their patience and co-operation in helping us successfully police the event every year.

“We recognise that large numbers of people can have an impact on the local community and I want to reassure people that, as well as the policing operation for the event itself, my community team will be there to address any concerns residents may have.

“Not only will these officers be dedicated to responding to any calls about issues such as anti-social behaviour and disorder outside the racecourse, they will also be looking to speak to anyone living locally who may have experienced problems in previous years.

“We are particularly keen to hear from these people so we can talk to them and make sure those problems don’t crop up again so the event is a winner for all.”

Aintree and Maghull residents can contact their neighbourhood team by sending an email to aintree@merseyside.police.uk or call the non-emergency number 101.

Ultimate Frisbee and Zorb Football come to Sefton parks

Active Sefton is proud to announce the launch of Sefton Park Nights.

The Easter evening events are a new scheme designed to give youngsters across the south of borough the chance to enjoy a host of free and fun activities.

Hosted at various locations throughout South Sefton, the early evening events aims to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour by encouraging them to take part in fun filled activities

Throughout the fortnight (Monday March 26 – Thursday April 5) youngsters can take part in a raft of free activities including street golf, zorb football, climbing walls and more!

Park Nights is organised by Active Sefton and funded by the Merseyside Police Community Cash Back Fund.

Activities include:
• Street Golf & Football at Derby Park (6-8pm) on Monday March 26
• Ultimate Frisbee and Dodgeball at Killen Green ( 5-7pm) on Tuesday March 27
• Zorb Football at North Park (6-7.30pm) on Wednesday March 28
• Climbing wall and games at Crosby Coastal Park (6-8pm) on Thursday March 29
• Street Golf & Football at Derby Park (6-8pm) on Tuesday April 3
• Ultimate Frisbee and Dodgeball (5-7pm) on Wednesday April 4
• Zorb Football at Marion Square Gardens Park (6-7.30pm) on Thursday April 5
• Street Golf & football Kirkstone Park (5-7pm) on Thursday April 5
Heather Redhead, Sefton Council’s Health and Wellbeing Development Manager , said: “We are delighted to be able to launch Park Nights after huge successes with other events in the past such as Sefton Lights.

“Park Nights promises to be two weeks of fun and free activities and thanks must go in advance to Merseyside Police who have worked so hard to help us bring this great programme together.”

For more information contact the Active Sefton Team on 0151 288 6286.

Panel endorses police precept proposal

A proposal to increase the precept payable for policing in Merseyside was “reluctantly” endorsed by the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel at their meeting on Tuesday 6 February.

The panel, which is made up of councillors from all Merseyside local authorities, has a statutory obligation to review the Commissioner’s Police Precept Proposal each year.

Having considered the evidence presented by the Commissioner, the Deputy Chief Constable and their support staff, the panel reluctantly agreed unanimously to endorse the Commissioner’s proposal for a 7.23% increase in the precept. However, in doing so, the panel asked that a number of recommendations/ comments be placed on record and brought to the Commissioner’s attention.

Cllr Carla Thomas, Chairperson of the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel, said:

“We endorsed this rise extremely reluctantly, because we recognise that the only alternative would be for resources within Merseyside Police to be reduced even further . This would have an extremely detrimental impact on the level of service being provided to the community.

“The panel very much felt that the Commissioner was left with no alternative but to request this increase, due to the woeful shortfalls in Government funding for the police.

“However we were also in unanimous agreement that, whilst this rise does represent the only option currently available to prevent further reduction in officer numbers, it highlights how inequitable the current system is. By relying on council tax precepts to plug gaps in funding for policing, those who struggle already with their monthly outgoings – of which their Council Tax bill is a significant part – are hit the hardest.

 “In reluctantly endorsing this increase we’d also urge the Government to urgently reconsider their approach to police funding and how shortfalls are impacting on both service provision and on the wallets of those least able to afford to pay.”

 You can read the Police and Crime Panel’s formal response here.

Sefton fund knife wands to make nightlife safer

Knife wands are the latest piece of equipment being funded by Sefton Safer Communities Partnership to ensure the local night time-economy in the borough is as safe as it can be.

Thanks to the funding, Merseyside Police Community Officers and Targeted Police Teams, as well as local bars and clubs in the Sefton area, will be supplied with knife wands to help them identify people carrying dangerous weapons and keep club-goers from harm.

The wands will go towards enhancing safety in the area and cracking down on the number of serious and fatal stabbings that happen on our streets.

Councillor Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:

“I’m delighted that through the Sefton Safer Communities Partnership we have acquired these extra security measures.

“The purchase of knife wands will help reassure our residents and visitors that Sefton is not only an enjoyable place to experience our vibrant night time economy, but also a safe one too.

“Many of our wonderful bars and nightclubs already have very good security in place but these wands will be of great benefit as both a deterrent and a symbol of reassurance.

“These wands and the wider Op Sceptre national campaign will compliment tactics already in place including weapon sweeps, knife arches, test purchasing and high visibility police patrols.”

Superintendent Matt Boyle said:

“These wands will act as a deterrent to those carrying weapons and a reassurance to the community that we’re doing everything we can to prevent knife related crime in the area.

“Liverpool City Council have already funded a roll out of the wands towards the end of last year following the tragic death of Sam Cook. Reports show these tools have been received really well and are key in keeping our communities safe.”

Merseyside is one of a number of police forces across the UK taking part in a week-long operation (Op Sceptre) aiming to highlight the work regularly being done across the county, and nationally, to combat the issue of knife crime.

As a police force, we’ll continue educating the public on the dangers of carrying knives in the hope this ensures people can safely enjoy being out and about in the Sefton town centre and surrounding areas. I’m proud to be supporting Sefton Safer Communities Partnership as they roll out a further 45 wands and I hope this gets the message across that it isn’t acceptable to carry a knife.”

 

•Anyone that would like to report any forms of knife crime is asked to contact us via our social media desk @MerPolCC or call 101. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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