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Annual policing funding announcement met with disappointment by Merseyside PCC

MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner has spoken of her disappointment at the Government's Provisional Police Funding Settlement for 2022/23 was announced. Commenting on the statement by the Minister of State for Crime and Policing, the Commissioner Emily Spurrell said:- "This announcement causes real concern. While it is a relief that funding will continue to be provided to recruit Officers to replace some of those lost during nearly a decade of austerity, it is deeply disappointing that, yet again, no extra money has been provided by the Government to cover any pay rise or inflationary pressures, which are now at record levels. Furthermore, ministers have completely failed to explain how the increase in National Insurance rates will be funded, despite previously indicating the bill would be picked up by central Government. If we are forced to fund this locally, it will set Merseyside Police back ₤2.2m; money we simply cannot spare. The biggest disappointment though, is that this settlement makes it overwhelmingly clear ministers are once again presuming the shortfall can come out of the pockets of local people, by expecting Police and Crime Commissioners to increase Council tax. This is grossly unfair; particularly for a Region like Merseyside which has high levels of deprivation, when they should be taxing those who can afford it most. The reality is that you can't deliver effective policing and keep communities safe on the cheap. If I chose to go against Government expectation and not ask local people to pay more, Merseyside Police will be left with an even bigger blackhole. This will have long term consequences for policing our Region. Policing was cut to the bone by this Government. Even with the current recruitment drive, Merseyside Police will still be 440 Officers short of the numbers it had back in 2010. This Government makes big statements about funding our Police service, but the reality is they are still cutting; they're just using smoke and mirrors to do it."

Fire Service calls on public to make fire safety a priority following fatal flat fire

MERSEYSIDE Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) is urging people to make fire safety a priority this following the tragic death of a man in a fire in Waterloo last week. The fire occurred in a flat on Hicks Road on Wednesday, 8 December 2021. Crews were alerted at 7.29pm and on scene at 7.32pm. 3 fire engines attended the incident and crews found smoke issuing from a flat on the second floor of the building, upon arrival. Crews quickly gained entry and Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered to fight the fire and search the flat for occupants. The fire was extinguished by 8.05pm.

During their search, Firefighters discovered the body of a 32 year old man at the property. 1st aid was carried out by Firefighters and Paramedics, but sadly the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

A joint investigation between MFRS and Merseyside Police has been carried out. Initial investigations indicate the fire was accidental and caused by the failure of an electrical device. Firefighters and prevention staff from MFRS will visit residents surrounding Hicks Road, on Thursday morning, to reassure them, offering vital fire safety advice and carrying out home fire safety checks.

Mark Thomas, Group Manager for Prevention at MFRS, said:- "This is an extremely tragic incident that has resulted in the death of a 32 year old man. Our thoughts are with his friends, and family and community at this difficult time. Initial investigations into this tragic incident indicate that the fire was caused by an electrical device. Due to the severity of the damage caused, we are unable to determine the exact type of device, but we would urge people to take a few simple steps to ensure their electrical items are safe. If you are buying electrical items this Christmas, make sure you only purchase them from reputable retailers. Take extra care when charging electrical devices. Only use the chargers that came with the device and avoid leaving items such as phones, laptops and tablets charging overnight. Discard any worn or faulty items or appliances; if the cables are frayed or damaged, or there are scorch marks around the plug or socket, don't use it."

As well as being careful with electrical items, MFRS is urging members of the public to take care when smoking and drinking this Christmas time, as well as offering other useful fire safety advice.

GM Thomas added:- "We know that there is a lot going on at this time of year and people are pre-occupied with the ongoing Pandemic and whether or not they will get a 'normal' Christmas this year, but it's really important that fire safety remains a priority. The last thing anybody wants right now is a fire in the home. Smoking remains the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home. The safest thing to do is to not smoke at all, but we understand that quitting is not so simple for everyone. If you must smoke, please do so safely; never smoke in bed and take extra care if you're tired. Please do not smoke when under the influence of alcohol or drugs and remember, make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished; put it out, right out. Take extra care when cooking, particularly at this time of year when there are a lot of distractions in the kitchen. Never leave pans unattended when cooking and avoid cooking if you have been drinking, ask someone else to do the cooking instead or order a takeaway. The most important thing that anyone can do to keep themselves safe from fire is to have working smoke alarms and we would urge residents across Merseyside to take time out of their day to check theirs are working. If you hear a smoke alarm sounding, don't ignore it, even if it isn't yours. If you hear a smoke alarm go off in a neighbour's property, check it out and call 999 immediately if you suspect a fire. Those vital few seconds could help save a life. Don't try to enter the property yourself if you think there is a fire:- Get Out, Stay Out and Call:- 999."


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