Conservative councillors, who want to see Southport Police Station closed and replaced by an ill-defined Community Police Station ‘as soon as possible’, have come under attack from Birkdale Lib Dem Councillor Simon Shaw.

Last week Merseyside’s Labour Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, launched a two month consultation on her proposals to close existing Police Stations and to establish new ‘Community Police Stations’ and a new ‘Neighbourhood and Patrol Hub’ in the Southport, Ainsdale and Formby area.

Cllr Shaw, a member of the watchdog Merseyside Police Panel, has already criticised the Police Commissioner’s plans for a ‘lack of clarity’.  He has warned that a ‘Community Police Station’ could well just be a spare room in a public building only open for a few hours a week.

Now he has hit out at the Conservative call for Southport’s ‘new Community Police Station and General Enquiry Office (to be) established as soon as possible’, calling it ‘unbelievably irresponsible’.

“I could scarcely believe what Cllr David Barton, one of the four Conservative councillors in Southport, said in his statement,” said Cllr Shaw.

“Until we are all completely clear what alternative is being proposed, it is unbelievably irresponsible for one of the town’s leading Conservatives to announce that he ‘sincerely hopes’ to see the switch to a Community Police Station ‘as soon as possible’, and that this is what he will be pursuing with his Conservative colleagues.”

“As local Policing Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, I have talked to a number of Southport residents about this and their view is exactly the opposite.  No one wants to see any switch, and certainly not ‘as soon as possible’, from the current provision to so-called ‘Community Police Stations’ until it is spelt out, absolutely clearly, exactly what they involve.”

“What’s the point of having a two month consultation on these proposals if no-one actually knows what a ‘Community Police Station’ or a ‘Neighbourhood and Patrol Hub’ is?  I certainly don’t – at least not yet.”

“That’s why I have already spoken to Jane Kennedy and suggested that she needs to ensure that the public understand more clearly what she is putting forward,“ added Cllr Shaw.

The statement from Conservative Cllr David Barton reads as follows: “I sincerely hope to see the new Community Police Station and General Enquiry Office established as soon as possible and shall be pursuing this with my Conservative colleagues for you our local residents.”

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