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PCC's disappointment over court closure

Liverpool / October 23

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy has voiced her disappointment that the closure of the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre has been confirmed.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy has voiced her disappointment that the closure of the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre has been confirmed.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Justice, Shailesh Vara MP, announced yesterday that, following a consultation, the Lord Chancellor had decided the proposed closure of the court should proceed.

The majority of the court’s work will now be transferred to Sefton Magistrates’ Court.

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy has spoken of her disappointment at the announcement. She had previously written to Helen Grant MP, Minister for Victims and the Courts, to air her concerns over the proposals, before joining forces with Mayor Joe Anderson to send a joint letter to Mr Vara.

The Commissioner said: “I am disappointed to learn that the Government has confirmed it will be closing the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre (CJC).

“I raised my concerns on two separate occasions, including in partnership with Mayor Anderson, highlighting our fears about the impact that the closure may have on the community. However, I am encouraged that Ministers have listened to some of the very sensible suggestions that were made and have revised the original proposals.

“I look forward to working with the court service through the implementation of these changes to ensure we preserve as much of this excellent court as possible.”

In her original letter to Helen Grant MP, the Commissioner branded proposals to close the court an "act of unnecessary vandalism".

In their joint letter, the Mayor and Commissioner Kennedy urged Mr Vara to reconsider the proposals, arguing that the amalgamation of the court with South Sefton Magistrates had not been properly thought through and highlighting that it was not clear how the cultures of two quite different courts could be merged.

They also urged the MP to provide further provisions to safeguard the people of Liverpool if the decision to close the NLCJC is eventually confirmed.

But, Mr Vara said, that after reviewing analysis of responses to the consultation, the Lord Chancellor had announced the closure would proceed.