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Battle to beat justice centrebid.

A LIVERPOOL community says it will fight plans to open the country's first community justice centre on its doorstep.

The Home Office wants to buy the St Gerard's school building in Boundary Street, Kirkdale and turn it into a one-stop courtroom and social services centre.

But the public response to the proposals has been negative and residents were today meeting to form an action group to fight the scheme.

Meanwhile,Home Secretary David Blunkett is searching for a district or circuit judge to run the centre, which is to open in December.

It emerged today that the position was advertised internally among the region's judiciary six months ago with a pounds 113,121-a-year salary. But none of Merseyside's senior circuit judges wanted the job, so the post is now being advertised nationally.

The American-style CJC will deal with petty criminals with victims and residents helping to decide punishments.

But residents fear it will bring criminals into their neighbourhood and today warned the Home Office they will fight the plans.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 30, 2004
Words:169
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