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News Report Page 3 of 15
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Firefighters attend less deliberate fires, but more dangerous bonfires, than in 2017

FIREFIGHTERS attended over 35% more potentially dangerous bonfires across Merseyside on Bonfire Night, Monday, 5 November 2018, than on the same date in 2017. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service attended 23 potentially dangerous bonfires between 00:00 hours and 23:59 hours on Sunday, 5 November, 2018 as opposed to 17 on 5 November, 2017.  Liverpool and Wirral had the highest number of such bonfires; with fire crews attending 10 in Liverpool and 6 in Wirral, with Sefton and St Helens both recording 3, and 1 in Knowsley. deliberately set ASB (anti social behaviour) fires; including bonfires, but also the likes of fires lit in wheelie bins; were slightly down across Merseyside on 5 November; from 60 in 2017 to 59 in 2018. Knowsley saw the largest decrease, from 9 deliberately set fires in 2017 down to just 2 in 2018, with Liverpool seeing the next largest reduction; from 34 down to 27. There was, however, an increase in Sefton, from 5 incidents last year to 14 in 2018. Crews also attended 3 incidents related to fireworks; the same number as last year. In total, fire control received 417 emergency 999 calls on 5 November in 2018, up 39.9% on 2017's figure of 298.

Mike Buratti, Arson Team Manager for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, said:- "We are pleased that the vast majority of people across Merseyside enjoyed a safe Bonfire Night.  Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service received a large volume of calls, with our Control staff doing a fantastic job of handling them. Our Arson Team also spent the night in the community ensuring that members of the public were kept as safe as possible.  On 5 November, we take a tolerant view of bonfires; if they are in the open, supervised by adults and under control we do not extinguish them. Those we attended and put out yesterday; those included in our statistics; were all considered to be dangerous. Combined with 2 large scale incidents, the bonfire related activity tested the Service's resources, though extensive advance planning and partnership work with Merseyside Police, Local Councils, schools and businesses in the run up to Bonfire Night, helped reduce nuisance fires to keep people safe.  In recent weeks, firefighters and the prevention team have been out in communities clearing away hazardous rubbish and fly tipping, which could have been used as fuel for fires, and promoting the safe storage of wheelie bins to help prevent them becoming targets for arson. We are thankful to our communities for taking on board our safety messages and advice."

As we move in to winter, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service urges everyone to make sure they have at least 1 working smoke alarm in their home and to ensure it is tested regularly.  For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call:- 0800 731 5958. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over.

Government needs to act now on Police funding

THE Government needs to act now on Police funding; that's the stark message sent out by a Commons Committee in a damning report on the financial sustainability of the Police Service.  The report, released by the Public Accounts Committee, comes after an oral evidence session at which Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy was among the witnesses who spoke of the "immense" impact of cuts on Police Forces across England and Wales. The Commissioner used her appearance at the hearing in October to stress the very real impact having fewer Police offers is having on ordinary people and argue for more funding. Her concerns have now been echoed by the Committee who have used the report to highlight that public confidence in the Police has been "severely dented" as force's struggle to prioritise what work should be delivered, while Officers' personal resilience is being effected. Crime, including violent and sexual offences, have increased, forces are dealing with more incidents which are not crime and forces have fewer frontline staff to respond. The report also emphasises that "forces cannot do everything" and are being forced to 'cost shunt' as they pick up responsibility from other areas of public spending. This all means some vital services have been cut back, including Neighbourhood Policing. The Commons Committee is now urging the Home Office to improve its understanding of the real world demands on the Police Service and urgently review and replace the existing Police funding formula. MPs list 5 clear recommendations, including asking the Home Office to develop a better system for understanding the strain placed on the organisation by incidents which are not crime related issues, such as mental health crisis.  The assessment is the third in 3 months to be released by Government advisory bodies urging ministers to take action on Police funding.

Jane said:- "How much more evidence does the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Home Secretary need to take action? The National Audit Office, the Home Affairs Select Committee and now the Public Accounts Committee have all released damning reports on the dire state of funding for our Police Service and yet still we see no light at the end of the tunnel, no promise of new money. These bodies exist to advise the Government, yet it seems they simply do not want to listen. The Chancellor paid lip service to recognising the pressure the Police are under when he delivered the budget statement last week, but he has done absolutely nothing to support our most important public service. Instead he passed the buck to the Home Secretary, who again failed to make any concrete promises when speaking to Police Chiefs and PCC's. There are still no signs that ministers really understand the dire financial state the Police Service is now in. The weight of evidence detailing this perilous financial position is now immense. Despite the Prime Minister's empty words, austerity is certainly not coming to an end for our Police Service. The Commons Committee are right to recognise that the message from our communities and Police forces is clear; the Government must act now."

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Meg Hillier MP said:- "The 'thin blue line' is wearing thinner with potentially dire consequences for public safety. Public confidence and trust that the Police will respond is breaking down. Funding reductions of nearly a ⅕ have placed severe strain on Police forces, which have in turn been forced to cut back. The results are stark. This cannot continue. Government must show leadership and get on with fixing the flaws at the heart of its approach to Policing."

The Commissioner appeared at the evidence session alongside the:- Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary Michael Barton, the Vice President of the Police Superintendents' Association Chief Superintendent Paul Griffiths, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall Alison Hernandez.  The hearing follows on the from the recent publication of a Home Affairs Committee report which warned that the Police were at risk of becoming:- "irrelevant" and a National Audit Office report highlighting the lack of a long term funding plan for Policing and significant gaps in the Home Office's understanding of the complex demands on Police Services. The report confirmed that Merseyside Police is the third worst hit force across England and Wales, having had its total funding reduced by 23% since 2010; more than double the cuts imposed on other forces, such as Surrey which has only seen an 11% decrease.


Recruitment Event for Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals

ON Saturday, 24 November 2018, Southport Hospital will be holding a nursing recruitment day. Drop in anytime between 11am to 3pm, and maybe go home with a conditional job offer. The Trust is hiring:- Registered Nurses, Operating Department Practitioners and Health Care Assistants; with special focus on Theatre Staff; for both Ormskirk and Southport Hospitals. Team members will be on hand to talk to candidates about roles within the dedicated Spinal Injuries Centre and Critical Care Unit, that are both located at Southport Hospital. On the day, Practice Educators will talk to candidates about career pathways, training and development. The Trust is also welcoming previously registered nurses to come and talk about a return to practice opportunities.  Lastly, NHS Professionals will be registering anyone looking for temporary roles as nursing 'bank staff.' Interviews and advice will be available all day on a drop in basis. Previous applicants are welcome to attend to discuss ongoing applications. For an informal chat, call Carol Fowler on:- 01704 704965 or email:- Carol.Fowler@NHS.Net.

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