Mayor and Police Commissioner call for rethink on Justice Centre plan
Mayor Joe Anderson and Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy have written to the Government urging it to think again about proposals to close the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre.
In a joint letter to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice, Shailesh Vara MP, they ask for a reconsideration and to request provisions to safeguard the people of Liverpool if the decision to close the NLCJC is eventually confirmed.
They argue that the amalgamation of the court with South Sefton Magistrates has not been properly thought through, and it is not clear how the cultures of two quite different courts can be merged.
The letter goes on:
“Not only will the move lead to the loss of connections with the community of North Liverpool it is also possible that judges sitting in Sefton may not have the local knowledge of troubled families from Liverpool.
“Having spoken to agencies involved with the NLCJC and from reading consultation responses, both the Mayor and I are convinced the court plays an important role within the community. NLCJC is an innovative model that harnesses a multi-agency approach to problem solving with involvement from agencies such as police, probation, mental health and substance misuse services.
“To remove such a well-established Centre would create a void and impact negatively on the good work of the police and the wider criminal justice agencies within the area. The people who will feel the loss of the Centre most are those communities particularly in Anfield, Everton and Kirkdale wards who have benefited from the reduction in offending achieved by the court. In this context the proposal appears unfair and unwanted.”
They call on the Minister to recommend that any decision on funding relating to Merseyside for the commissioning of victims services takes into account the removal of the NLCJC and the effect on the local population in order to lessen the impact on North Liverpool.
They have also asked for an update on proposals for a single Crime Centre has been proposed located in Liverpool’s QEII Court, which would move magistrates’ work to the city and they believe would be a credible alternative to proposed arrangements.