It’s full steam ahead for Sefton’s second Community Police Station as it officially open its doors in Ainsdale Railway Station today (Tuesday 28th May).
The Community Police Station is designed to make officers and PCSOs from Merseyside Police’s local policing team more accessible to people living in and visiting the village and is part of the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy’s 10 year strategy to update the Force’s ageing estate and save money to the frontline.
The proposal to co-locate the new Community Police Station in the train station was first raised with the Commissioner by Ainsdale councillors in 2015. Since then, Merseyrail has agreed to house the new station free of charge within the railway station as part of its Corporate Responsibility Programme, meaning there are no costs to Merseyside Police for re-locating to the site or on-going rent charges. Work began on site in March 2017.
Today, the Commissioner will be joined by Merseyside Police’s Superintendent Graeme Robson, Local Policing Inspector Graham Fisher, Ainsdale ward councillors, representatives from Sefton Council and Merseyrail to officially declare the station open for business.
The Community Police Station in Ainsdale will be open on a regular, but not continuous basis and includes a private interview room and facilities from which officers can parade on. It will not house any custody suites or cells. Surgeries will be publicised at the station, on local billboards and through the Force’s website and social media channels.
Community Police Stations are designed to be accessible, visible centres which are co-located with partners in busy neighbourhood hubs which are already well-used by the communities they serve. They are a key part of the PCC’s strategy to transform Merseyside Police’s stations with the aim of saving £2.5m on running costs every year, money which can be redirected straight into frontline policing.
Jane said: “I’m delighted that we are now in a position to open the doors to Sefton’s second Community Police Station here in Ainsdale Railway Station.
“This an excellent place for a Community Police Station and I’m very grateful to Ainsdale’s ward councillors for proposing this location and for getting on board with my plans to make Merseyside Police more accessible. Thanks to Merseyrail’s kind offer to house this Community Police Station for free, we will also be saving money every year on our annual running costs. This is money which can be put straight back into Merseyside Police’s budget to be spent on policing our communities.
“Merseyside Police has experienced some of the biggest cuts anywhere in the country since 2010, but the Chief Constable and I want officers to be visible and accessible to local people. It’s what people tell me all the time when I attend events and meet the public.
“This new Community Police Station will put the neighbourhood team right at the heart of the community in a busy location which is well used by the community. I hope it will be a valuable asset to the people of Ainsdale.”
Merseyside Police’s Community Policing Superintendent Graeme Robson said: "Community Police Stations are designed to be accessible, visible centres which give local people access to their neighbourhood police team in a busy, centrally-located base. They put our teams right at the heart of the communities they serve.
“Our local policing officers will be on hand to listen, and to provide advice and reassurance. By holding regular surgeries, members of the public have the opportunity to pop in and discuss their concerns and share their views with their local team in a convenient location.”
Merseyrail Deputy Managing Director Paul Bowen said: “When Merseyrail was given the opportunity to house Ainsdale’s Community Police Station, we jumped at the chance to support the initiative.
“The safety of residents and visitors to the areas we operate in is paramount to us, and working in partnership with Merseyside Police we are thrilled to contribute to the policing of the community.
“Ainsdale station reopened last year following a major refurbishment making it the most environmentally friendly station on the network, and now home to a key part of the community.”
Today’s launch follows on the from the opening of Sefton’s first Community Police Station in Maghull Town Hall on Westway in March last year at an event attended by MP Bill Esterson and Town Council leader Cllr Patrick McKinley and Deputy leader Cllr John Sayers.
By replacing inefficient and expensive old police stations with new Community Police Stations, the Commissioner is working to reduce the annual running cost of Merseyside Police’s estate in order to protect 65 police officer jobs.