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Issue:- 16 December 2010

Law-breakers help keep hospital tidy

PETTY criminals are helping keep the grounds of Southport and Formby District General Hospital tidy.  The offenders have each been sentenced to a Community Order by magistrates and put to work for between 40 and 300 hours doing hard, manual labour. They have typically been convicted of offences such as shoplifting, benefit fraud, drink-driving and minor assault.

The work includes grass cutting, gritting isolated streets in the cold weather or, as at the hospital, environmental improvements such as litter-picking. Projects across Merseyside regularly save communities more than £1.5m annually in unpaid labour.

A team of offenders has been working in the hospital grounds weekly with a supervisor since July.  The scheme is managed by the Sefton Community Payback Unit of Merseyside Probation Trust. Each of the offenders is risked assessed before being allowed on the programme.

Sir Ron Watson CBE, the chair of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust which manages the hospital, said:- "I believe this is the first time a hospital trust in our area has used the Community Payback scheme in this way. The environmental improvement it has made should be welcomed.

The Trust is very pleased to be playing its part in helping rehabilitate offenders. It also another example of the importance we place on community involvement."

John Lavin, operations manager of Sefton Community Payback Unit, added:- "We're delighted to be working at Southport hospital. It is a great place to show Community Payback in action and demonstrate how offenders are punished in the community."

For more information about Community Payback, go to the Merseyside Probation Trust website.

Fifth year of Christmas cheer for world’s poorest children

CHRISTMAS has come early for dozens of disadvantaged children across the world - thanks to the generosity and goodwill of the local community in St Helens.

Over the last few weeks, individuals and groups have been dropping off present-filled shoeboxes at the Polar Ford showroom on Sherdley Road which once again opened up its doors as part of this year’s ‘Operation Christmas Child’ appeal.

Polar Ford has been acting as a collection point for the appeal run by the Samaritan’s Purse; which brings joy and happiness to children in hospitals, orphanages, refugee camps, homeless shelters and impoverished neighbourhoods in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Graham Woods, general manager at Polar Ford said:- “This is the fifth year that we have taken part in this appeal and we are delighted that we could help bring a little bit of extra happiness to so many children. It’s such a great cause and we would like to thank everyone who donated a shoebox and made this year a success.”

In 2009, the Samaritans Purse volunteers sent nearly 1.2 million shoeboxes to children across Africa, Eastern Europe and Central. 2010 is the 20th year of Operation Christmas Child with more than 81 million present filled shoeboxes having been distributed since the charity’s foundation in 1990.

Hate incident policy agreed

NEW moves to clampdown on hate crimes and incidents in Liverpool are being introduced by Liverpool City Council.  For the first time the authority is introducing a uniform policy for reporting both hate crimes and incidents.   Until now there has been no consistent way throughout the council of reporting such incidents, leading to fears that the level of hate-related incidents may be underreported.  Hate crime is defined as:- "any hate incident which constitutes a criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person. This may be because of their race, transgender status, disability, religion or sexual orientation." A hate incident is:- "any incident that may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate."  The new policy, which was developed with the guidance of Liverpool’s Hate Crime Reduction Forum, sets out a consistent way of reporting and handling complaints.  It aims to improve the confidence in the way the council handles complaints and give reassurance that they will be treated seriously and sensitively, The data collected will also be used to take preventative action wherever possible.  “The adoption of this policy is an important step forward in the way we deal with all types of hate crime and hate incidents. These sort of crimes and incidents can take many forms from verbal to physical abuse and graffiti or services being refused, But all can have a severe affect on peoples’ lives. Until now, we have not had a clear and consistent way that staff who are victims of such incidents or witness them can report them. We have now developed a uniform way for reporting and recording incidents which will streamline the way various agencies handle them. We are also helping employees to identify what is hate crime and ensure that they are always challenged. It reminds them of their responsibilities in this area and will ensure that we have a much clearer picture of the extent of these issues. Any member of staff who is the victim or sees a hate crime or incident can now refer to a single document on what they should do. There will be no excuse for not reporting such incidents or signposting service users to the support available. We want to be an inclusive city which is proud of our diversity and we have made strides in being so. This policy take us a stage further in helping reduce the fear of hate crime.” said Councillor Ann O’Byrne, cabinet member for community safety.

Liverpool South Parkway – just the ticket!

MERSEYTRAVELS awarded-winning Liverpool South Parkway interchange has seen a 50% increase in passengers over the past 12 months.  Over 35,000 passengers a week now use the interchange and this figure is set to increase further from the week-end (December 12) when TransPennine Trains will stop daily offering their passengers a seamless link to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and onward travel to Crewe, Birmingham, Runcorn, Manchester Oxford Road, Sheffield, Nottingham, Norwich and across the Merseyrail network.

Councillor Mark Dowd, chair of Merseytravel, said:- “Liverpool South Parkway has proved to be a major success and continues to grow as a major interchange. It mirrors the success of Merseyrail as one of the best performing rail networks in the country.”

Neil Scales, Merseytravel chief executive added:- ”Liverpool South Parkway is helping to improve access to the unique attractions of Liverpool and Merseyside, as well as linking people from North and West Yorkshire to international travel via John Lennon Airport.”

Leo Goodwin, commercial director for First TransPennine Express, said:- “With direct trains, quick, frequent bus transfer and a choice of low-cost airlines, we‘re confident that passengers from across the Pennines will appreciate how easy it is to reach the airport. We’ll also be offering discount advance purchase rail fares to complete the package.”

The stunning eco-friendly interchange, created by Merseytravel, offers a booking and passenger information office and enquiry point for bus, rail and airport journeys; a bus station and taxi rank, a high frequency bus shuttle to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and a 240 space park-and-ride car park, free to users of the facility.

The sustainability elements of Liverpool South Parkway and the integration of various forms of transport are some of the best examples of their type in the country, with a giant rainwater harvesting system, geo thermal heat pumps, enhanced roof insulation and solar photovoltaic cells on its south facing windows providing an electricity supply to the building.


MERSEYSIDE Police are urging victims of domestic abuse and their families not to suffer in silence this Christmas.

Traditionally, the festive period is a time of year where there is a spike in reports of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse does not just constitute physical violence, it can also be emotional, sexual, financial or psychological abuse. It also crosses all social boundaries and affects the lives of many people, including children in an abusive household.

Merseyside Police has joined forces with local partners to help tackle domestic abuse over the Christmas and New Year period.

Dedicated officers will be working throughout the Christmas period to give support to people experiencing or at risk of domestic violence.

Officers in the Family Crime Investigation Unit and Public Protection Unit are specially trained to deal with these types of investigations, from the initial call for help from the victim to obtaining evidence and bringing offenders before the courts.

Working with partner agencies, these officers will also ensure that victims get the earliest intervention and the help and support they need.

Detective Inspector Chris Sephton, from the Public Protection Unit, said:- "Sadly, although this is supposed to be a time for festive cheer and the season of goodwill we find that domestic abuse increases over the Christmas and New Year period. In some cases heightened stress and family tensions, often fuelled by alcohol, contribute to an increase in violence and abuse. But our message is clear - domestic abuse will not be tolerated in any of its forms and we will not let abusers keep their crimes hidden behind closed doors. We want victims, their families, friends and neighbours to know that help and advice is available to them all year round from a range of support agencies from the point it is reported and any subsequent court process. Working together with our partners we are wholly committed to reducing incidents of domestic abuse across Merseyside, increasing the number of arrests and bringing those responsible to account. Don’t suffer in silence this Christmas - if you need help pick up the phone and you will be supported."

Anyone wanting to report domestic abuse can do so by calling Merseyside Police, in confidence, on:- 0151 709 6010, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111.

In an emergency always call:- 999.

Information and a list of numbers is also available on the Merseyside Police website in the Support and Advice section.

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