Thursday, November 30, 2006

Police activity in the area in October

I know it is fashionable to criticise the police, the LibDems in my ward have turned it into an art form, but I think they are doing a great job in Kensington and Fairfield. Here is a selection of just a few entries in a report by Inspector Charnock of some of the work they were doing in the ward last month (of course it is all written in "cop" speak).

On 7th October 2006 officers arrested a male for persistently masturbating in the grounds
of Limecourt Day Centre on Upper Baker Street, Liverpool 7. Over a short period of time there had been a number of incidents were a male had been seen masturbating in the car park of the centre, causing distress to the vulnerable disabled persons who use the premises.
The officers put a lot of time and effort into gathering evidential statements and viewing
CCTV footage. The male was subsequently identified and arrested. On interview he admitted
offences of masturbating in the grounds of the centre on two separate occasions.

On 8th October 2006 officers responded to a report of a traffic accident that had occurred
in Boaler Street, Liverpool 7. A motor vehicle had driven into the side of a taxi and the driver
had driven away from the scene without stopping.
The taxi driver managed to circulate the details of the vehicle to other taxi drivers in the
area. Taxi drivers made to the area and assisted the Police in searching nearby streets to
locate the offender. The offending vehicle was located by a taxi driver and, with the help of
his colleagues, blocked in until the Police attended.
The driver was breath tested and found to be over the drink drive limit. He was arrested, his
vehicle seized and he was taken to St Anne Street Police Station.

On 9th October 2006 officers were on patrol in Onslow Road, Liverpool 7 when they saw a
male, driving his vehicle in the opposite direction, who they knew had been wanted for over 18
months on Magistrates Court warrants for traffic related offences. The officers managed to
turn their vehicle around and catch up with the male. The vehicle stopped for the officers
but the driver offered a false named, date of birth and address. After the officers had
explained to the male that they knew exactly who he was, he admitted his true identity and
was subsequently arrested.

On 10th October 2006 officers engaged in prostitution initiative, Operation Rose, were on
patrol in the area of Sheil Park. Whilst patrolling they observed a group of males acting in a
suspicious manner and went over to speak to them. Enquiries revealed that one of the group
was currently wanted on a recall to prison and was flagged as a priority offender for his
active involvement in Burglary offences throughout North Liverpool. The male was arrested
to be returned to HMP Walton.

On 10th October 2006 – As part of the Sheil Road prostitution initiative, Operation Rose (which I support wholeheartedly), two addresses were raided in Sheil Road under Misuse of Drugs Act warrants. The occupants of the addresses are believed to be responsible for supplying illegal drugs to sex workers who have been operating in the area and allowing people to use the premises for the purpose of taking drugs. Evidence of drug misuse has been obtained and enquiries continue to have the premises closed under ‘Crack House’ closure legislation.

On 13th October 2006 Road Safety Unit officers conducted an ANPR (Automatic Number
Plate Recognition) Operation on Prescot Road, Liverpool 7. The purpose of the Operation, as
well as promoting Road Safety, was to target kerb-crawlers using their vehicles to pick up sex
workers in the area of Sheil Road, Liverpool 7. As a result of the Operation – 50 vehicles were stopped - 11 people were summonsed or issued fixed penalty notices for road traffic related offences – 8 vehicles were seized under Section 152 of the Serious and Organised Crime Act

A further operation two weeks later on 22nd October resulted in over 50 vehicles being stopped
and the drivers spoken to. 12 vehicles were seized for having no insurance. 3 persons were
arrested under immigration offences for being in the U.K illegally and 6 fixed penalty notices
for traffic related offences were issued. Whilst conducting the operation, local residents
voiced their support to officers of how the level of Sex workers and their clients working the
area had dramatically reduced.

On 17th October 2006 officers from Tuebrook Neighbourhood conducted an Operation to
target licensed premises suspected of selling alcohol to minors. The Operation was run in
partnership with officers from the Trading Standards Unit. Four premises were identified
for controlled purchases to be made. Of the four premises, two premises challenged the
under aged cadets and refused to sell to them, therefore complying with the licensing laws.
Two premises sold alcohol to the minors without question. The first was an Off License on
West Derby Road where they sold a bottle of Bacardi to the youngsters. The second was an
Off License on Prescot Road in Kensington where they sold a bottle of ‘Reef’ alcoholic drink. (I wonder if you can guess which one this was?)
The licensee of both premises received an on the spot fine of £80.00 and the details have
been forwarded to the area licensing department for follow up enquiries to be carried out.

On 19th October 2006 officers responded to a report of a fight at the junction of Romer
Road and Molyneux Road, Liverpool 7. The report stated that one of the males was armed
with a machete. Upon arrival the officers found a male who was bleeding badly from a serious
wound to his forehead. The wound was consistent with being attacked by such a weapon.
Enquiries by the officers revealed that the offender lived at an address in Ridley Road, L6.
The officers immediately made to the Ridley Road address where a male answered the door.
Upon sighting the Police, the male attempted to run back inside the address but was quickly
detained. The male was arrested on suspicion of wounding and the house was searched. A
meat cleaver, numerous knives and a 3ft ornamental sword were recovered from the address.

On 30th October 2006 officers responded to a report that a male had collapsed at an address
in Gilroy Road, Liverpool 6. Upon arrival at the scene they were greeted by a female who had
a serious cut to her eye and bleeding to her head. The female had been stabbed and it was
established that the male responsible was still inside the premises.
The officers conducted a systematic search of the house in order to locate the offender,
who was potentially still armed with a knife. The officers located the offender hiding in one
of the rooms and he was arrested for a wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The female was treated in hospital for her injuries.

............the actual report is 18 pages long! I told the Inspector that I believe that more people should be aware of the work they do and his report should get a bigger audience. I hope that my publishing little extracts on here will help that to happen.

You can find out more by going to the police's own website by clicking on the title to this post.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Not Drunk Enough - license application

I had a big surprise this week.

An application has been submitted recently for an extension of opening hours, from 10pm until 4am as I recall, for an off licence on Prescot Road, Fairfield named Not Drunk Enough.

You couldn't make up a name like that, could you!

Anyway, I was phoned by the local Chair of the Fairfield Area Residents Assocation (FARA) to alert me to the fact that objections were going to be raised at that evenings residents association meeting. So I got onto the Licensing Department and they sent me the relevant form for objecting to the plans.

I took the form to the meeting and the 30 or so people there had a big debate about the application. They were united in their opposition to the proposed opening hours. So were the other agencies present.

I read out the four possible grounds for objecting -
Add to problems of crime or disorder
Harm public safety
Cause an unreasonable public nuisance
Put children at risk of harm

and residents identified particular concerns that fitted into each of these categories.

We agreed a form or words and I completed the form and signed it.

I wrote on the bottom of the form that I was submitting this on behalf of the residents association.

I handed the form in to the Licensing officers the next day.

Unfortunately they have refused to accept it because apparently Councillors are not allowed to object to licensing applications unless they are personally affected by them and live in the vicinity.

How utterly and totally ridiculous!

What was the ODPM thinking of to come up with something so stupid when they created the Licensing Act of 2003.

Who better than me to put forward the views of my residents? Me, the democratically elected community leader?

Consequently I had to get the Licensing officers to send our completed form to a number of local residents who had been at the meeting so that they could recreate it on new forms and sign it themselves.

I understand, having just done a bit of research, that lots of people are complaining about this all over the country, not just me. I think we should start a campaign to have this put right. Obviously it wont be the ODPM any more, my first job will be to find out who now has responsibility, I am wondering about the DCMS given Tessa's occasional speeches on the subject of 24 hour drinking.

Who wants to sign up to it with me?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Campaign to Save Woolton Cinema

As a member of the Heritage Scrutiny Panel on Liverpool City Council and as a cinema goer, I am very happy to support this campaign. Local private cinemas are historically very important as well as giving great ambience and a great viewing experience.

There is a benefit gig at the New Picket on Friday night, 1st December and also a stall at a Farmers' market being planned as part of the fundraising efforts to get enough money to buy the cinema.

Do go on their website - accessed by clicking the title of this entry and have a look at all of their activities.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fathers who kill their children

I have been worrying about the growing numbers of fathers murdering their children for a while now, and yet nobody seems to want to talk about it. So I am grateful to the Guardian for this article (which you can access via clicking on the title of this entry) which covers this topic very thoroughly.

In fact it says all the things I have been thinking.

Like the fact that we seem to find excuses for these men, that it was not really their fault, that the wife had brought it on herself by daring to want to leave or see another man. I dont see it like that, they are self-indulgent, rage-filled "I'll show you" acts and as a woman I cant quite get my head round that, because we dont work that way.

I know there was an outpouring of sympathy for the man who threw his children off a hotel balcony when he was shown to be suffering so much afterwards, but I didnt much feel it myself, although they said in the papers that he had done it because he could not bear to live without them if his wife left him, I instinctively knew straight away that he did it to punish her.

Public shame and humiliation and the knowledge that as he had not died himself but would now have to live with his wife's hatred were what made him feel so dreadful - he had hoped to escape all that part leaving her bereft and powerless.

Like the fact that women who kill their children are usually suffering from post-natal depression or some other kind of mental illness, the men are usually sane, which makes it much worse. (Only 1 in 20 of parents who kill their children are women)

Like the fact that men who kill their children regard them as their possessions rather than human beings in their own right and it is this "ownership" which they believe gives them the power over life and death.

The Guardian article was printed on November 5th, it has happened another twice since then. The very next day in Bodelwyddan two children were murdered by their father, yesterday a man was arrested for murdering his wife, her brother and their two children in Newcastle.

I have also noticed that a large proportion of the murderers are ethnic minority fathers who have come to live here from other countries. I wonder if that is significant? Do families in other countries, in the developing worlds, have a different outlook about family members being posessions owned by the man, than we tend to do in the west? I think that must be the case.

There are white British men murdering their children too, so we shouldnt perhaps make too much of that. But this article says that generally the murderers hate their wife, not their children which again chimes with my thinking.

I think that if we are going to stop this dreadful thing happening, to reduce the incidence of fathers murdering their children (whether or not they also commit suicide) then we need to begin campaigning for more recognition for children. Children are not adjuncts of their parents, not possessions, not pawns, not tools to be manipulated to hurt someone else. They are people in their own right, small people of course, but still people.

We have to campaign so that fathers the world over understand what mothers dont usually have to be taught, that children are precious and while they are young and vulnerable they need us to look after them so that they can blossom into adulthood and start to look after themselves.

I feel the same about smacking children, it is the worst thing, to physically hit someone just because they are small. You wouldn't hit an adult, you know that is wrong, but you think it is okay to hit a tiny defenseless child, because "it is the only way". Lots of people get through parenthood without hitting their children, perhaps we should all watch supernanny a bit more often!

What kind of a world are we living in? And why is nobody talking about this? It is so depressing, when I heard about the family in Cyprus who were gassed by Carbon Monoxide my first thought was the father had killed the children, I never thought of the gas - and those of you who know me would be amazed to hear that. Since Michael's death in 1999 I assume all deaths have been caused by CO until told otherwise, but in recent months I have started assuming it was the father, how very sad and depressing.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What kind of intelligence do you have?

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence
You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.You are also good at remembering information and convincing someone of your point of view.A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.
You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

There you go, my mate Suzanne should be a politician because she has "Interpersonal Intelligence" and I should be a politician because I have Linguistic Intelligence. I wonder if everyone that does the quiz should be a politician? Anyone else had a go?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Plans for a Social Enterprise in Kensington

I met Terry Molloy today.

He is being employed by Kensington Regeneration (the body that distributes the funds for Kensington New Deal for Communities).

He is charged with drawing up plans for a construction training centre to teach 20-30 young people in the area some quality building and construction skills through apprenticeships.

He has already spoken to some of the big developers and builders in the area who would be keen to support the trainees. Now all he needs is the money and the land to build the centre and run it.

I have promised to research land and premises opportunities for him.

He has to present his plans by the end of March, let's hope they are accepted and brought into being.

There is going to be a huge amount of building, regeneration and renewal in the area, if the New Deal plans are right, and we need the people working on those sites to be our young people who are otherwise most likely to end up working in MacDonalds on a fiver an hour.

Start thinking positive thoughts now!

Councillor training in media

Liverpool City Council, in conjunction with the University of Chester, is running a professional course for Councillors which will eventually result in a Certificate in Higher Education for those who are successful.

I began my first module this week, Media training.

You could be guilty of assuming that as a former Parliamentary Press Officer I dont have much to learn but you would be mistaken. It is one thing to advise someone else about their media activities, and to promote them (unmercifully) in the media, but quite another thing when it is you, yourself, that is under the spotlight.

We learnt this week about being interviewed by the written media (newspapers) and the radio. In a month's time we are going to the University's campus in Warrington to practice TV interviewing in a proper (dummy) set.

I did a dummy radio interview, colleagues seemed to think it went okay but you are never sure. I dont worry about how I sound or whether I gabble, I worry about saying the wrong thing. I expect it is the same for all politicians, especially if you have someone as agressive as John Humphries interviewing you.

I learnt a few tricks that I hope will serve me well if the local radio stations ever want to talk to me.

But in any case, it is great to have formal training and I was surprised how well we worked together as a group, supporting each other, even though we are from different parties.

I can't wait to practice TV interviews in a proper studio!

Liverpool's 800th birthday celebrations

As the only Labour councillor on the scrutiny panel looking at the plans for next year's 800th birthday celebrations I do feel a certain responsibility to ensure that they contain something for everyone and are well thought through.

I have enjoyed the experience, although it is a bit difficult to scrutinise something that has not happened yet, but that is part of the challenge.

I am convinced the plans will be well received although for some reason they are much less famous than the plans for o8 European City of Culture, even though they are of huge importance for local people. If 08 is about tourists, next year's celebrations are about Liverpool people right here in the city.

I am particularly excited by the proposed unveiling of the refurbished and magnificent St George's Hall on St George's Day in April with a big party for local people. I also enjoyed meeting the artist who has designed a special coin for every child in the city that they will be able to keep as a souvenir of this auspicious time.

There will be some great new museums opening too.

I have made a plea for the genealogists amongst us in particular, that there is plenty for people whose family came from Liverpool, or through Liverpool, on their way to the new world. It is the biggest hobby in the world and we could get almost more visitors through that route than through culture if we really wanted to (not that the "new" city will have been built yet, in 2007).

I am very happy to talk to anyone about the birthday plans and hopefully will be able to get hold of my own copy of the great DVD which details the history of the city over the last 800 years since King John granted the charter.

It is going to be great - and if it is not then you know who to point the finger at for her failure to adequately scrutinise!

Remembrance Sunday

Sunday's Remembrance Day service at St George's Hall was very moving.

I think it is very important to remember those usually very young men, and some women, who died in battles and wars because they believed it was their duty. I think it is also very important to remember those who died in battles and wars they did not even want to be part of, but were conscripted to engage in.

I never have a problem supporting poppy day or Remembrance Sunday, some of my family fought in wars, my great grandfather Sidney Baldock was seriously injured in WW1, his son, my grandfather, Arthur Sidney Baldock won the Oak Leaf for his part in the evacuation of Dunkirk. He was also an ARP warden.

My other grandfather, John Millward, worked nights at Goodyears making tyres for tanks

They deserve nothing less than that we give up an hour once a year to honour and remember them

You dont have to believe in war to honour those who put the people of their country before themselves.

We had a very big event at the Cenotaph at St George's Hall and I was proud to attend as a civic representative of a ward from where many men have gone to many wars.

More than half the Labour Group of councillors were in attendance, a good showing, but I think perhaps next year we might want to think about a three-line whip.

Inside Justice week

Merseyside justice system opens its doors to the public

The public in Merseyside will have the chance to gain a unique glimpse behind the criminal justice system as this year's Inside Justice Week gets underway across the county.

Activities planned include interactive trials with local schoolchildren playing the major roles in St Georges Hall, mock sentencing events and open days at Liverpool's Community Justice Centre, Birkenhead Magistrates' Court, Kirkby police station and North Sefton Magistrates' Court, Inside Justice Week roadshows and a University Challenge style competition for students across Liverpool.

Merseyside Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe, chair of Merseyside Criminal Justice Board said:
"Justice matters to everyone: in any decent society justice must be done and be seen to be done. The Criminal Justice System must also have the confidence of the law-abiding majority.

This is why Inside Justice Week is so important. It is a chance for the public throughout Merseyside, who may have never come into contact with the justice system, to look behind the scenes , ask questions and find out more.

ìThe justice system is for the public. It only works when they are prepared to be witnesses, complainants or jurors. Please come and look at any of the event"

Prime Minister Tony Blair said:

"Inside Justice Week is a great opportunity for the public to see what goes on behind the scenes of our courts, police stations and prisons. I believe such openness can only help improve public understanding of the challenges our criminal justice system faces and the dedication of the staff who work within it. This dedication is recognised through the Justice Awards which celebrate just some of the outstanding contributions of front-line staff. They deserve all our thanks for their hard work and commitment."

Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland said "I am delighted to welcome in the third annual Inside Justice Week.

I hope the week will give the public a clearer understanding of the criminal justice systemís inner workings ñ be it through taking a rare look inside a court room at an open day or speaking to frontline staff at a community road show.

Frontline staff and local communities play a critical role in building an effective and fair justice system. Inside Justice Week is all about celebrating and encouraging this contribution."

The aim of this year's Inside Justice Week is to open up the justice system to the public in order to:

Increase people's knowledge and understanding of the
Criminal Justice System
Encourage people to get involved by publicising the range of career and volunteering opportunities available in the Criminal Justice System
Inform people about the support available should they come into contact with the justice system, either as a victim of crime, witness, juror or as someone accused of a crime.

Inside Justice Week runs across England and Wales from 18-25 November. For more information about the campaign, please visit

The winners of the Justice Awards will be announced on 24 November. For more information, please visit

Friday, November 03, 2006

Save our statues

I have joined the Liverpool Daily Post's campaign to save Another Place by Anthony Gormley on Crosby Beach. If you click on the title of this story it will take you to their website and you can see photos and sign the petition.

I have been to see them lots of times and always take visitors from out of the area. They are wonderful, awesome, majorly thought-provoking and a fabulous and fantastic coup for the people of Merseyside.

They were installed by Anthony Gormley who is the sculptor of the world-renowned Angel of the North. He modelled the statues in his own likeness and they stand, a hundred of them, in waves along the beach for as far as the eye can see, looking out to sea and being buffeted by the tide.

He intended them to be a temporary installation, they have already been to other places round the world and are due to be moved to America any day now. However, he said when he saw them installed at Crosby (which is a bit north of Liverpool in the Sefton local authority) that they were clearly at home and were meant to stay.

The region was then tasked with finding enough money to buy them and keep them.

Before we could really get going with this though, a local Tory Councillor opposed the planning application to keep them as she said they were a health and safety hazard. Apparently one or two statues are in a bad place and might threaten passing water traffic and there is a worry that some people might wander out too far to look at one of the statues and get caught by the incoming tide. So they threw the plans out and the statues are currently, as I write, destined to leave.

We now need to persuade the planning committee on Sefton council to see sense, allow Gormley to relocate the odd statue that is in a bad place and save the day. A few notices on the beach and perhaps a bit of common sense might solve some of the other problems.

As an enthusiastic member of the Heritage Select Committee on Liverpool City Council, I really value our region's art provision. Some parts of the national media like to portray Merseyside as a blighted place, derelict, run-down and without charm or beauty.

I hope the successful bid to be European City of Culture in 2008 will go a long way to rewriting this perception. Indeed as you ascend the elevators at Euston station in London, or arrive at John Lennon Airport, you see a marketing campaign for 08, encouraging people to visit the area and see what a great place it really is culturally.

The statues feature heavily in the campaign, they are a powerful example of our love of art and illustrate the fact that we have more art galleries than any city outside of London. They are also a symbol of our looking ahead, looking forward, into a positive future full of renewal and regeneration.

If these statues are torn from the beach we will have lost a wonderful work of art beloved by many but we will also have lost our reputation in the art world; the 08 city of culture will be a hollow experience without them.

Sign the petition today

Corporate Parenting - a bad mother?

I went to see the Regional Director of the National Children's Home charity last week because he had written to me after my election, offering to tell me about their work with local children and with sure start projects and so on.

Long before I was elected to the council I was made aware that Councillors are corporate parents to all the looked-after children in their authority.

Since becoming elected I have been increasingly aware that I have been a bad mother, I have neglected my children because I do not know what support they need from me.

Paul Moore at NCH has spent 30 years working with looked-after children before he went to NCH and he asked me a whole series of questions, none of which I knew the answer to.

He asked me how many children I have (how many are looked-after in Liverpool), I said I did not know, perhaps about a thousand, he pointed out that parents should know how many kids they have, not just guess!

He asked me how many are fostered, how many in residential care, how many are waiting to be adopted, again I didn't know

He asked me how my kids are doing at school, how many of the older ones are expected to get good grades in their GCSEs - what kind of a mother does not know this sort of thing?

He asked me if they were visiting the dentist regularly, if they were getting plenty of exercise... I was a total blank.

So, I asked him to help me become a better parent. He has offered to put on training for me and all of my colleagues on the council, to let us know how we can be more effective and make sure that our children are getting what they need, when they need it and that they have the best chances in life.

I hope it happens soon because I have been a very poor mother for six months already and it is simply is not good enough to hope that someone else is seeing to these very important matters.