Sunday, January 28, 2007

Prostitution loophole

Apparently, there is a little known loop-hole in law that says that if you approach a prostitute on foot it is not a crime in the same way that kerb crawling in your car is.

The offence on foot has to be "repeated soliciting" which means the police have to catch the man approaching a girl many times over before he can be charged.

This was revealed during Operation Rose when it became clear (as I predicted back in the summer last year) that most of the men looking for girls in the area were on foot, having jumped off the bus or strolled across the park.

This has made it rather difficult to tackle them, but the intensive police presence finally drove the girls and the dealers away so there is now nothing to attract the punters.

I have taken this up with Jane Kennedy MP who has promised to talk to the Home Office about getting the legislation changed.

Police drugs action in Sheil Road

The police have just closed down two crack houses in Kensington, right there on Sheil Road

They had been tipped off by concerned local people that the prostitutes and dealers were queuing to get into these two flats. So they gathered their evidence and one morning last week they raided.

They recovered all sorts and boarded them up.

It seems hard to believe looking at the streets over the last few weeks, just how bad it was this time last year. When I was door-kocking in the streets around Sheil Road in the run up to the local elections in 2006 every house told me about the prosititutes, about young lads being propositioned on their way to school, about family men being propositioned as early as 6am as they set off for work, about innocent young girls being approached by punters prowling round for sex. There were condoms on doorsteps when people came out to do their shopping.

And of course, prostitution goes hand in hand with drugs.

Every girl that was arrested in the area during the police's intensive campaign tested positive for either heroin or crack cocaine.

The dealers work where the girls work.

Just after I was elected I went to see the then Inspector, Paul White, and explained to him that this was the number one problem in the area. We discussed the problem at length and I gave him quite a lot of reports I had gathered about which houses were involved with drug dealing and which with prostitution. He took it all very seriously and I was pleased when he agreed to call a public meeting to look at solutions.

We all met in the police station back in the summer and after our discussions Paul tasked one of his sergeants with tackling the whole problem, Operation Rose was born.

I have blogged before about some of the activities of Operation Rose, the police have concentrated intensive resources on the area, targetting kerb crawlers, working with Armistead to trying to get the girls into rehab, applying for ASBOs for the worst offenders, to keep them out of the area, but they have had particular success with targeting the dealers.

The action last week was only one in a series of actions designed to push the dealers, the drugs and the prostitutes out of the area.

It is definitely working, where once prostitutes were a sad, everyday aspect of life in the area, now they are rarely seen.

If you are looking for an example of how the police work closely with the community, to target and concentrate on the people's priorities then you dont need to look any further than Kensington.

They have been really great and I salute them.

Dream High and the Sirolli Institute in Kensington

I went to my first meeting of the Dream High project last week.

Working on Sirolli Institute principles, the organisation is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs who want to develop a new business in the Kensington area.

Board members pledge to introduce people wanting to set up in business in the area to the enterprise facilitator, Claire Baker, and she in turn supports them with help and advice, referring back to board members where necessary.

The board includes bankers, marketing people, IT people, graphic designers, Princes Trust, the University, Health people, church people, all sorts of people who might be able to offer advice to a budding new business person.

We heard about four people who needed particular advice and various people in the room offered practical suggestions.

It seems like a pretty good organisation to me, I have promised to get involved. The Chairman also told me that they dont have any HR professionals on the board, so I might be able to help as a Councillor and through my professional advice.

I have included a link to the fledgling website which you can get to by clicking on the title of this posting.

If you know of someone in Kensington who is starting up in business and who has hit a snag or needs advice, put them on to me and I will make the referral. They wont look back with such experts to help them.

Full council - what a joke

I know I moan about Neighbourhood Committees in our area, about how no members of the public come because we have long since scared them away and how my two co-councillors mainly use the proceedings as an opportunity to do some ill-judged finger pointing and ranting.

Well all I can say after last week's full council meeting is that Neighbourhood Committee are positively pleasant in comparison.

Full council is the meeting where all 90 councillors from all parties come together to debate and vote on issues of importance to the city of Liverpool.

Or at least that is what the poster would say.

The reality is that it is an unruly, disgraceful, very badly behaved bear-pit. It doesnt matter how sensible your suggestion is, how valuable your contribution to the debate, it is all drowned out by yah-boo and catcalls.

And I am afraid that both Labour and LibDem are guilty of this.

The only silver lining is that like Neighbourhood Committees, thankfully the public dont show up.

I am positive that one glimpse of our meetings would be enough to put most people off voting ever again.

The trouble is that it suits particularly the men. They enjoy all the raging testosterone and the sharp retorts. They wont ever countenance a change, to a calmer and more reflective chamber with thoughtful debates.

I am torn between wishing the public would turn up en masse and berate the councillors, shaming them into finally behaving in a civilised way, and wishing they never ever turn up and find out how disgraceful their elected representatives behave.

Booze 24/7 and McDonalds

Another of the 24 hour off licences on Prescot Road has now blotted its copybook.

A branch of McDonalds in Huyton has been slipping adverts for free home delivery of booze into children's happy meals.

I am sure there is an extremely tasteless joke in there somewhere.

The leaflets are from Booze 24/7 on Prescot Road, opposite Not Drunk Enough.

I was visiting local businesses in the area yesterday morning and they have told me about drunk young people, especially young girls, falling into the gutter, hurting themselves and making themselves terribly vulnerable to predatory attacks. Thankfully the cold weather has dampened down some of the activity in the band stand but otherwise problems continue in this area.

What kind of a world do we live in where alcohol is now being advertised to kids eating happy meals (in Scooby Do boxes)?

Mind you, the LibDems believe that the age at which alcohol should be sold, should be reduced from 18 to 16, so perhaps they wont see a problem with that.

I have of course reported this latest violation to the Liverpool City Council Licensing Committee and officers, asking them to review the license on the grounds of protection of children from harm - not for me a quote in the newspaper but no action like certain LibDem councillors I could point the finger at....

Tackling breaches of ASBOs

I am currently working with local Anti-social behaviour units, the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce Business Crime Direct and the Police in bringing national pressure to bear on local magistrates in terms of how they deal with breaches of Anti-social Behaviour.

Some of our young people with ASBOs are breaching them regularly but in some cases magistrates are not reflecting this in their sentencing, so they are starting to lose their power.

How are other areas dealing with this? Let me know.

We are getting some evidence together for our MP, Jane Kennedy, to hand over to the powers that be - whoever it is that is in charge of magistrates, and get them to have a word. I'll let you know how that works out.

Minto Close update

It is about three weeks since I met C7 officers, wardens, council staff and local residents to see what could be done about the area behind Minto Close.

We heard about problems with youths using the debris from the demolished flats to put windows through, drug dealing and drug taking, fly-tipping and fires. While we walked about the area to the rear of the empty and derelict flats on Kensington we had to step over a few dead rats. Charming!

Local people have been fobbed off for years, literally years, with excuses and delays while all around them the whole place has decayed.

Minto Close is really quite nice, everyone looks after their gardens and keep their homes very nicely. But all around them it reminds me of those films of Belfast in the 70s.

I do hope that having taken the various agencies there myself, by the hand so to speak, and shown them the state of the place, we might finally see some action.

Since our meeting, we have seen some (very limited) action from Lovells, the building company who are supposed to be building new houses on the waste ground. They have cleared away some of the debris (although not enough of it.) What we need is for them to start building, more and more deadlines come and go and still nothing ever happens.

The clean team have been and cleared up a lot of the fly tipping but it is a bit like King Canute trying to hold the tide back and will stay that way until the new houses are built.

I am not holding my breath though.

Kensington Carbon Monoxide Detectors

There might be a bit of progress in my campaign to introduce carbon monoxide detectors into Kensington. I have been invited by Maria (hello Maria if you are reading this) to a meeting in early February with the Fire Service to explore some possibilities.

As everyone knows, since Michael died in 1999 I have always done what I can to promote detectors and it seems to me that an area with a lot of private rental properties is ideal for a scheme.

I want CO testing kits to be as routine as smoke detectors, and of course we all need one, whoever owns our homes, us or someone else.

Hopefully we are now moving forward to the possibility of at least getting something rolled out across the new deal area.

For those elsewhere in the country reading this who occasionally contact me about this issue, I will post up in here any details of costs, availability, schemes and deals we manage to organise. No sense in others reinventing the wheel if you can copy our scheme (if we get one, which I feel hopeful about).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Consultation on draft revised Guidance to be issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003

I have today received this email from the Government which I am posting here as it is something we have discussed before. I do urge you to join in the consultation.

I will have lots to say after yesterday's meeting of the Licensing Committee and my first real experience of how the new system works (or more precisely its short-comings)

"I am pleased to inform you that the consultation on draft revised Guidance to be issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 has now begun. This consultation forms part of the second stage of the Guidance review and seeks views on the revisions that DCMS proposes to make. Please note, any revised Guidance issued by the Secretary of State following this consultation would not come into force until it is laid before Parliament.

The consultation document and revised Guidance are available at the link in the title

The consultation concludes on Wednesday 11 April and we would be grateful for any responses by then. Responses should be sent by email to:
or by post to: Licensing Guidance Review TeamTourism Division6th FloorDepartment for Culture, Media and Sport2-4 Cockspur StreetLondonSW1Y 5DH "

GEARS new penny bench

I should have posted this up ages ago, but better late than never

What a great community day we had when GEARS unveiled their lovely penny bench in Birchfield Park.

It is a wonderful and yet functional art installation, a bench made of Welsh slate (because lots of Welsh people came to live in that part of Liverpool) bearing mosaics designed and made by local people about themselves. There is for instance a lovely picture of a boy pushing a big (symbolic) piece of Meccano which relates to local industry and employment and also the boy himself who, having aged a few years, is local resident Arthur.

There is a mosaic of a dancing couple, designed from photos of the Secretary of GEARS and her husband who runs junior GEARS (EAGERS) when they danced at a community event.

There is a mosaic of the nearby Pheonix School, raising from the ashes of the old Birchfield School (which the bench also celebrates).

It is called a penny bench because it is shaped like a penny going into a money bank slot.

It is a great thing and Wendy and I really enjoyed the day and the party.

Ann and her group worked tremendously hard with a local art company, Safe Productions, They deserve praise and thanks for creating this lasting legacy. The Heritage Lottery Fund paid about £40,000 towards it.

Very Well Done!

GEARS is a Fairfield Residents Assocation, an acronym made up of the first letters of all the streets they serve: Gresham Street, Garthowen Road, Eltham Street, Edge Grove, Edge Lane, Adamson Street, Alford Street, Romulus Street and South Bank Road.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Not Drunk Enough - given green light

I was bitterly disappointed this morning when after very lengthy deliberation, the Licensing Committee did in the end agree to grant a very late license to the thoughtlessly named "Not Drunk Enough" off-licence on Prescot Road.

I spoke at some length on behalf of residents, arguing not against an off-licence altogether, but against the need for it to be open in the middle of the night.

Local people at a recent meeting of the Fairfield Assembly had agreed several key points they wanted me to get over to the committee so I made sure they had the full picture.

We talked about the noise, the traffic, the drunks staggering about, the mess, the broken bottles, selling to children, the anti-social behaviour, all sorts of things.

The only thing they would not let me talk about was the story in the newspaper about the shop giving taxi drivers money to encourage them to bring drunks to their shop to buy more booze. I was not allowed to mention this because no-one had made any representations about this and it was new evidence I could not therefore introduce. I was furious because it was Cllr Marbrow, my opposite number in the LibDems who got himself on the front page of the Liverpool Echo pointing this out to the wider world and so presumably also Cllr Marbrow who did not follow up his glory moment by arranging with concerned residents that they wrote in about this.

If I had known he was not going to bother to get organised we would have made sure it was in the Fairfield Assembly submission but we didnt want to be accused of stealing his thunder, never again.

It makes me so bloody mad, his grandstanding for the cameras and not following it up with action.

Anyway, as we were...

I have been told before that it is very difficult to get an application thrown out so I was not surprised when it was granted but I kept my fingers crossed about the conditions under which it would be allowed to trade.

As of today the license has been granted, (indeed it could already be open now as I type), but as a result of our intervention and campaign it must follow these instructions.

1. It must operate a Challenge 21 policy at all times while it is open - this is because it has been found guilty of selling alcohol to an underage girl already. This means if someone looks to be aged less than 21 they must be asked for ID.

2. CCTV must be installed inside and out, by 12th February, all video film must be kept for 28 days and handed to the police upon request at any time.

3. "Leave quietly" signs must be put up in the shop - this is frankly laughable, what drunk at 3am leaving with a bag full of ale is going to take the blindest bit of notice of that?

4. If at any time problems are caused by the shop being open until 4am, interested parties (residents and their representatives) can ask for a review and this can be changed.

This last point is the only thing that gives me any hope really.

I did ask the owner if he would consider changing the name and he said he would if the committee asked him to, they said that was not part of their recommendations so I asked him if he would do it anyway, for the sake of community relations.

I dont know whether he will.

Watch this space - and if you are a Fairfield resident or the police, or the community wardens or any of the other concerned people worried about this, and you see see it going badly wrong, let me know so we can do something about it!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another new Labour Party has joined in the Kensington and Fairfield ward

....that makes four in ten weeks.

All men so far, I hope a few women will be encouraged to come forward too.

It is immensely satisfying

I hope the new members will become as active as the existing ones, I really sense positive momentum and it is very exciting - also several months earlier than we all expected, I thought the numbers would start to grow with a new national leader but it seems that passionate local leadership is making the difference even before that.

I am going to ask the new members why they joined, what motivated them, it could be very interesting, watch this space





The original Quarrymen are playing - this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the band that helped shape the Beatles. Yes, they're still alive and kicking and only making rare appearances.

Special Guest - Mike McCartney.

Compere - Dave Monks from BBC Radio Merseyside.


*The Snides
*The Riffs
*The Good Intentions
*Blue Demon
*The Mersey Beatles
*The Quarrymen

Visit our MySpace to view the bands

The New Picket
61 Jordan street
Liverpool L1 0BW
Tel: 0151 708 6789
Friday 26th January 2007 8pm - 2am
£8 or £5 unwaged/concs
Available from Probe Records Liverpool 0151 708 8815 or directly from Campaign HQ - tel_ 0787557582. See website for details

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Delay and decay on Prescot Road Fairfield

I had a meeting on Tuesday with two different home owners on Prescot Road, their supportive families and neighbours, and Tom McGuire, the Executive Director of Community 7.

The two ladies, one of whom's house we met in, are in dire straits.

They each own a home in a long row of mainly boarded-up houses.

Four years ago when Kensington Regeneration was set up and local people were asked what they wanted, one of their wishes was to see this row sorted out. Some have been empty for years, one local resident recalls a friend being refused a mortgage on a house in this row 15 years ago because of dodgy foundations.

Others are in fairly reasonable condition, a few are still being occupied privately.

They were an eyesore and local people wanted them smartening up and sorting out.

Consequently, the council asked the local Housing Association that by now owned lots of them, to try and empty and then board up all the houses that they had in their ownership, pending a decision on some kind of development.

That sounds reasonable, clearing the way for action, until you realise it has been going on for four years.

Empty houses in public ownership waiting for the council to come up with a plan.

Empty houses with leaking roofs, choked up gutters, damp problems, broken roof tiles, which are slowly infecting the privately owned occupied houses next door.

The resident whose house we were in has experienced terrible damp for four years now because of faults in the neighbouring houses but the public landlords have not wanted to spend a lot of money patching up their houses while there was such uncertainty about the future of the block. They have also lost 4 years rent on some of their houses. If I was C7 I would be tempted to sue the council.

Her neighbour would dearly love a new bathroom, but is it worth it she asks? What if she puts the bathroom in and then someone makes her move?

If I was a home-owner in the row, I would already have sued the council.

So, what is the LibDem solution to this?

Councillor Doran was forced to act by local residents and by the Friends of Newsham Park just about a year ago. He chairs a working group made up of the three local Councillors (him, me and Cllr Marbrow) and for some reason that I dont understand, Councillor Radford who might have represented those people in the past - I am assuming that end of the ward must have been in Tuebrook ward before the 2004 boundary changes - but doesnt any more. Then there is a member of the Neighbourhood Management Team from the Council, Tom from C7, representatives from some of the other housing assocations who own large villa property in the adjacent Prescot Drive which also need attention (although are all empty and mostly derelict). There are also a few members of Friends of Newsham Park.

For nearly a year this group has been meeting but to no effect.

The LibDem Councillors' best suggestion so far is to support the proposition that we knock the whole lot down and let the so-called preferred developers, Bellway, build some apartments and town houses in this park-side plot.

Well that was not good enough 12 months ago when it was first suggested and it wont be good enough in 12 months time either, no matter how many times they keep proposing it.

Local people, residents and home owners do not want to sell up to the bulldozers. They believe that only the ones that have to be demolished due to condition should be knocked down and that where possible we should retain and refurbish these large family homes so they can stay. There have been a lot of tears over a long time.
All over Kensington large family homes are being demolished because apparently nobody wants them - but if we knock them all down then where will those people who really do want a large family home live?

We have to keep some, otherwise we will have to set up a new scheme to start building them again!

So, as I was saying, there are these people living in these houses being blighted by public landlords because the council have told them to keep them empty pending some future wonderful idyllic time when perhaps they might actually be bothered to come up with a plan and put it into action.

And what is being offered after three years of no action at all and a further year of meetings which have also achieved nothing? Bull-dozers.

Well it is not good enough and we wont stand for it, not the residents and not the Labour Party, not the MP either who was instrumental in setting up the meeting with C7 yesterday, and definitely not me.

I think Tom was moved by the stories he heard and he has promised to contact in person all the remaining residents and discuss with them just what they really want, whether they want to stay in the same house, move to another house in the row with a more sustainable condition, sell up and move somewhere else, do a house swap, whatever it might be. Well it is a start and I cant see any progress without it because I will never agree to a mass demolition, not ever, in any circumstances, unless the residents say that is what they want!

He has also promised to do something about the houses in the hands of C7 which are blighting their neighbours.

I will be holding him to that, I will also help as much as I can, we made a good start with the residents we met this week, maybe together we can finally steer this working group in the right direction and see the end to this delay and decay.

I think I do trust him to do the right thing, now we will have to convince the rest

Tories on Gas Prices

This is lifted straight from the PMs daily briefing, I thought it too good not to share, those Tories are nearly as opportunistic as the Liverpool LibDems!! They dont care how stupid they make themselves look, it would seem.

Cameron launched his first campaign of the year today (Friday? LB). He went on every TV and radio studio saying he was calling for an OFT inquiry into gas prices. However, as the day went on it became clear that this was no more than a media stunt - the Tories hadn't actually contacted the OFT and, despite meeting energy company reps just two weeks ago, they didn't bother to raise the matter.

An OFT spokesman told the Press Association this afternoon that the watchdog had not received any approach from Cameron or the Conservative Party about gas prices.
Nicola Bowles, head of communications at the Energy Retail Association which represents all the UK's major gas suppliers, said: "The energy industry is surprised to hear about this as we met with senior figures from the Conservative Party just a few weeks ago and they raised no such concerns."

Labour's Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said the Tories just weren't serious about the energy debate. He said: "I'm surprised he isn't aware that the independent regulator independent of Government and the industry, Ofgem, has already said that it wants to see the reductions in prices that the gas and electricity companies are now paying passed on to consumers as quickly as possible and he should also be aware that Ofgem has powers to impose very substantial fines if companies don't do that."

"What causes high prices is uncertainty. One of the reasons that we had an energy review last summer and why we're publishing a White Paper on energy in March is because we want to make sure that we do have security of supply at reasonable prices in the future. Cameron's got this ridiculous policy on nuclear that he won't make his mind up until it's too late and as for wind power, which he says is the alternative, there are Conservative councils blocking applications up and down the country.
"We are taking action in the short term but importantly too we're taking action in the medium and the long term, something that he's not proposing to do and I believe what he's doing today is opportunistic, is increasingly showing him to be ill thought out when it comes to policy."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Extracts from local Police Report - December

On 4th December 2006 officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress at an address on Edge Lane, Liverpool 7. Officers immediately make to the location where they find two males, nearby, holding a quantity of household property. As the officers were about to stop the males, they attempted to make off and started to run. The officers chased the males on foot and managed to detain one of them. The male immediately became violent and started fighting with the officers. The officers used CS Spray in order to protect themselves from the attack. The male was eventually arrested and detained at St Anne Street Custody Suite.
The male was in possession of property that has now been identified as having been stolen from the Edge Lane burglary.

On 5th December 2006 officers attended an address in Belmont Drive, Liverpool 7 in company with a team of support workers. The occupant of the address was suffering from health issues and had not been seen for some time. There were concerns over the health and welfare of the male occupant. The officers knocked at the address but could not get a reply. Based on the information at hand, the officers decided to force entry to the premises.
The officers found the occupant unconscious but breathing on the living room floor. The males health was very poor so the officers administered immediate first aid until a Paramedic Team attended. The male, who had been lying on the living room floor for over twenty-four hours, was conveyed to hospital for treatment.

On 6th December 2006 officers engaged on the Christmas Drink Driving campaign observed a male who they suspected as being drunk whilst driving home from a public house in Kensington. The officers utilized the City Safe CCTV cameras to monitor and record the males driving until they were in a position to stop the vehicle.

The male driver was stopped near to his home address and arrested for drink driving. There was almost twice the legal amount of alcohol in his system. The CCTV footage provided excellent evidence for any future court appearance.

On 7th December 2006 officers from the Kensington New Deal Team carried out Licensed Premises visits at Public Houses within the Kensington area. Whilst walking into the Royal Arch Public House on Kensington, the officers were greeted by two males who were trying to leave the pub. The males were seen to be holding a quantity of Cannabis in their hands as they walked out the front doors. The two males were quickly arrested for possession of controlled drug and conveyed to St Annes Street Custody Suite.

On 8th December 2006 officers engaged on Prostitution Operation ‘Rose’ were traveling along Geneva Road, Liverpool 7 when they saw a motor vehicle pull to the side of the road and stop. The officers, suspicious at the drivers actions, parked near to the vehicle and spoke to the driver. As the officers approached the vehicle, the driver jumped out and started to run off along the road. The male was detained and further examination of the vehicle found the door was damaged and the ignition barreled. The vehicle had been stolen a couple of minutes earlier from a nearby street.

On 8th December 2006 the Kensington New Deal Team arranged for Community Support Officers and Special Constables to represent the Police at an Employment Open Day at the Job Bank on Tunnel Road in Wavertree. The event was aimed at offering employment opportunities to local residents. A number of businesses also attended. The event resulted in fifteen enquires to join the Merseyside Police Community Support Officers and a further eighteen considering joining the Special Constabulary. (Several from ethnic minority groups).

On 13th December 2006 officers from Tuebrook Police Station took part in an area wide arrest day, targeting persons responsible for committing Burglaries across Liverpool North. Fifty addresses were raided during the Operation and a number of key Burglary targets were arrested. A substantial amount of stolen property was recovered and a clear message was sent to criminals that we would continue taking positive action against them over the festive period.

On 15th December 2006 officers from the Kensington New Deal Police Team patrolled the Botanic Park / walled garden area due to a recent increase in youth disorder within the park.
The team discovered that approximately thirty-five teenagers are using the secure walled area of the park to drink alcohol. As the Police arrived, the majority of youths ran away by climbing over the fence which joins Edge Lane. A number of drunken youngster were detained and taken home to parents.

There were numerous empty bottles of spirits and cans of lager strewn across the park. Four bottles of vodka were recovered from under a bush. It is evident that the fence which leads onto Edge Lane is too low and unsuitable for keeping the youngsters out of the park. A higher, more substantial fence needs to be erected so that the youths cannot easily climb into the walled area.
(I have taken this up with the council - Louise)

On 16th December 2006, In the light of the murders of sex workers in Ipswich, police implemented increased patrolling in the Sheil Road area of Liverpool 7, which is often frequented by sex workers and their clients. The patrols were in addition to the increased Policing being undertaken as part of Operation Rose and designed to offer reassurance to local residents in the locality. Numerous vehicles were stopped and the drivers spoken to. The drivers were warned that if they are identified as kerb crawlers, their details would be passed to the murder team in Ipswich for further investigation to be carried out. Sex worker and client activity was minimal during this period.

On 18th December 2006 officers took part in the Operation Nemesis Christmas Drink Drive campaign. The Operation focused on the area of Prescott Road and the Sheil Road area of Kensington.

Forty-one vehicles were stopped and checked. Twenty-eight negative breath tests were administered. Ten fixed penalties notices were issued for Road Traffic Offences and five vehicles were seized for no insurance culminating in the drivers being summonsed to court.
As well as targeting drink driving offences in the area, the Operation proves an excellent tool at targeting criminal activity within Kensington and Tuebrook.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day officers the Kensington, Fairfield and Tuebrook residents seemed to embrace the Christmas spirit and there were very few incidents reported to the Police.

The main focus of calls were domestic related incidents where ex-partners had attended their estranged partners homes wishing to be with their Children at Christmas.
During one incident, officers were called to a report of a fight between husband and wife in Rufford Road, Liverpool 7. It transpired that the wife had burnt the Christmas Turkey and an argument ensued. Patrols attending the dispute could not calm the male and he was arrested to prevent a further breach of the peace.

The male remained in Police custody for the rest of Christmas Day and had a choice of delicious micro-wave meals for Christmas dinner.

During New Years Eve / Day, officers attended three times the normal volume of calls than a busy Saturday night. The officers performed exceptionally well under difficult circumstances.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Execution of Saddam Hussain

I feel obliged to comment on this story given that it has been a main news item for four days now.

As someone who is passionately against capital punishment I found it very difficult that Iraq had decided to put Saddam to death for his war crimes. Watching the official version was difficult too, knowing that in just seconds after the end of the filming he was dead. It is now of course much worse, for not only was he executed, something I find abhorrent, but it turns out it was not done with dignity or a sense of decorum either but with taunts and shouts.

Mind you, I dont know why I make that distinction, now that I come to think of it.

As capital punishment is something I entirely disagree with, I dont see how I can take a view about how it is "best" done.

However, all that aside, none of this means that the man was any less of a tyrant, any less of a murderer or any less deserving of the full penalty of law. He never shirked from publicly executing Iraqis and Kurds either.

I do hope that no-one loses sight of this point as they fall over themselves to find yet something else to criticise our government for. He wasnt a marvellous chap who was hard done to, he was a murderous bastard.

- and it wasn't Tony Blair who pulled the lever either, only the Daily Telegraph could walk such a fine line, claiming both that he is ultimately responsible for the execution and that he was on a dodgy holiday in Florida and couldnt bring himself to make a comment about it.

Saddam Hussain knew the legal penalties for the kind of actions he undertook, he designed most of them.

Happy New Year

Just a quick post to wish all readers a happy new year

2006 was a wonderful year for me, my top five things were

1. Being elected to Liverpool City Council
2. Chairing annual Labour Party conference in Manchester
3. Moving into my lovely new home
4. The birth of baby Rosa, daughter of a close friend
5. Receiving my first educational certificate in 15 years

I hope that 2007 is as good as 2006, it has certainly started very well

My hopes for the year are

for Labour

1. To win that second council seat in Kensington and Fairfield for Labour

2. A renewed Labour Party with a new leader recruiting new members (three have joined in Kensington alone in the last 8 weeks, I hope this is a sign of things to come).

3. More Labour women in positions of power, locally and nationally

for Kensington and Fairfield

1. Some real progress in building new homes and tackling the blight of boarded up houses in Kensington and Fairfield

2. Action over Kensington market once and for all

3. That the council finally bites the enforcement bullet and agrees to root through bin bags that have been dumped or put out on the wrong days, looking for names of residents to fine. We need some front page stories in the Echo to make sure people know we wont stand for it any more.

for me

1.That a smokefree Liverpool and a smokefree UK encourage me to finally stop smoking
2. That the tentative friendships I have begun in 2006 blossom and grow