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PCC consults on plans to protect Police funding and continue to recruit 160 more Officers

MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner is asking local people if they would be willing to pay a little extra through the Police precept, which is collected alongside the Council Tax, to help protect Merseyside Police and secure the recruitment of 160 new Officers. The public consultation was launched by Jane Kennedy following the budget announcement in December 2020 when the Government made it very clear they expected local Council Tax payers to pay more towards policing. The additional money would help the Commissioner to balance the Merseyside Police budget for 2021/22 and ensure the Force can recruit 160 more Officers in the year ahead. This small increase in the contribution from local people will enable Merseyside Police to go ahead with the recruitment and manage increasing costs, reducing the need to make cuts to services. The increase equates to approximately 19p a week or ₤10 a year for a Band A household, the lowest Council Tax category and the one paid by the majority of Council Tax payers on Merseyside.

Jane Kennedy said:- "While the Government have increased the amount of money available for policing, there is also a very clear expectation from the Government that local tax payers should help towards policing, supporting the Police recruitment drive and ensuring we can balance the books for another year. From 2010 the Government's policy of austerity forced cuts of ₤110m, and there are potentially further savings to make over the next 3 years. The size of our Police Force reduced by a quarter, meaning 1,110 fewer Police Officers were patrolling the region's streets by the end of the decade. However, in the last year and following the launch of Operation Uplift, the Chief Constable and I have finally been able to create new posts and recruit more Officers to strengthen Merseyside Police and protect our communities. The Chief Constable and I have done everything we could to accelerate our recruitment drive and, by March 2021, 500 more Officers will be patrolling the streets of Merseyside. This is good news however, the Force will still be a long way short of the numbers it had in 2010. We are ready and keen to recruit a further 160 Police Officers in the next year, however following the Government's announcement it is clear that we will need the public's help if we are to achieve this. I know the public of Merseyside want more, not fewer Police Officers. Like last year, by paying a little more they can be assured that they will get more, more Police Officers, more Police teams, working for us, in our communities. I am aware that local people are already heavily burdened in what has been a terrible year of disaster and anxiety, but I hope they will be willing to pay an extra 19p a week to help stabilise the Force's budget and ensure we can recruit 160 new Officers in the next 12 months."

The Commissioner is now holding a consultation asking people if they would be willing to contribute the extra funding expected by the Government. People are invited to have their say through a short online survey, by Sunday, 31 January 2021.

Southport Mum says completing the Nutcracker Trail was:- "like doing a treasure hunt" after winning competition

A Southport Mum said completing this year's Southport Nutcracker Trail was:- "like doing a treasure hunt" after winning this year's photo competition by Southport BID.  The BID asked people to post their selfies of themselves with the figures on social media alongside the hashtag #SouthportNutcrackers with a prize awarded for one lucky winner.  Charlotte Howard won the competition with her lovely pictures she posted of her daughter Franchesca, aged 7, a pupil at Norwood Primary School in Southport, and her friend Gabby, a pupil at ChurchTown Primary School, in Southport, in December 2020, when Southport was under Tier 2 restrictions. Franchesca and Gabby were each awarded a ₤30 Southport Gift Card, which they can choose to spend in over 70 local businesses which have signed up to the scheme.

Charlotte Howard said:- "Having the Southport Nutcracker Trail was a beautiful attraction for the kids and a chance to have fun finding all of them scattered around our lovely Town. It directed their attention to having fun and not what was currently going on in the world; even the 2 dogs joined in! It was cold and damp when we all set off; myself, my fiend Lou, our husbands, the kids and the dogs; a real family affair! The kids didn't care about the cold. Franchesca was excited to see her friend Gabby and even more excited to try and find the Nutcrackers 1st. They set off running and skipping, shouting out each name as they found them. It was like a treasure hunt, and great exercise too. The girls never thought they'd win and the pictures we took were of them showed they were just enjoying it and having fun. They were so happy to win and were absolutely shocked! They are already looking forward to where they can spend their Southport Gift Cards when our shops reopen. Thank you so much Southport BID, you have brought smiles to two little girls."

In the run up to Christmas, 12 giant Nutcrackers were placed in positions throughout Southport Town Centre for shoppers to enjoy while supporting local businesses.  The Southport BID's Nutcracker Trail was also a great way of people enjoying socially distanced exercise.  The BID ran a competition asking people to submit their selfies, a competition to name the 12 Nutcrackers and a contest for people to find all 12 of the figures before posting their entry in a special post box, in front of Wayfarers Arcade, on Lord Street.


Southport BID CEO Rachelr Ftizgerald said:- "Congratulations to Charlotte, Franchesca and Gabby for winning our Nutcrackers photo competition! They posted some beautiful pictures on Facebook which showed how much they enjoyed completing the Nutcracker Trail. I would like to thank them and everyone who posted their pictures on social media throughout November and December. The Southport Nutcracker images are a great advert for our Town and will hopefully help to encourage more people to come and shop and dine in Southport when the lockdown restrictions end and it is safe to do so again. I hope Franchesca and Gabby enjoy spending their Southport Gift Cards!"

The iconic 6ft tall Nutcracker figures, which resemble giant toy soldiers, were placed at strategic points throughout Southport Town Centre to recreate the popular Nutcracker Trail. There were more to find in 2020 with 12 figures instead of the previous year's 10. The Nutcrackers brought real magic to Christmas shopping in Southport Town Centre, with families enjoying finding all the figures in between trips to local shops and restaurants. For more details and to buy the card please visit:- SouthportGiftCard.Co.UK.

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