More rural Cumbrian communities are to benefit by getting a dedicated local police team stationed in their town.
Alston, Appleby and Shap are the latest places to feature in an expansion by Cumbria Constabulary of neighbourhood policing, with officers providing an enhanced visible presence and more capacity to respond to local concerns.
This has been made possible due to public support for an increase in the police part of the council tax bill, proposed by Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall to improve policing in the county.
It also follows the national Operation Uplift to increase police numbers – and comes on the back of already announced expansions earlier this year in south, west and north Cumbria.
The Constabulary has moved to expand neighbourhood policing because of the proven policing benefits in having officers who know their area well and who become familiar faces in the community.
It means extra officers will be based directly in these rural communities, where they can get an improved understanding of local issues and respond more quickly and more directly to neighbourhood concerns and needs.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “I am well aware that the public are reassured and would like to see more of our police officers in their neighbourhoods.
“That is why we took the risk to recruit and train high quality officers early in the summer and our target was achieved.
“I am pleased to note that we have increased the number of officers since I came into office in 2016 from 1,120 to 1,216 as a result of public support through council tax and most recently Operation Uplift, funded from central government.
“This means we are more able to start to base officers back into our smaller towns for the first time in many years.
“These officers will give better service not only to the towns but the surrounding rural areas and our officers based in large towns do not have to travel out to the wider rural communities, everyone should get a better service which is what all officers want to deliver.
“Earlier in the summer officers were redeployed into Brampton, Keswick and Ambleside and this next phase sees a further three towns in Eden: Shap, Appleby and Alston have officers permanently based to really get to grips with local community policing in the towns and surrounding areas.
“Clearly there is still much to do and together with the Chief Constable, I will be doing all I can to ensure that Cumbria gets a fair share of the phase 2 and 3 allocation of officers from Operation Uplift to bring even more officers into Cumbria.”
Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery said: “We have always had officers policing these rural areas – but the increase we have seen in officer numbers gives us the extra resources to increase our effectiveness and visibility.
“This enhancement makes us better able to recognise and tackle community issues, or any other problems that might arise, more quickly.
“We have made this operational decision because neighbourhood policing works better when locally-based officers work in communities, giving them a better understanding of local issues.
“Local officers are more familiar with the geography and able to respond more efficiently and effectively to local concerns.
“It also provides a recognisable presence for people.”
Inspector Mike Taylor is the inspector in charge of these policing teams.
He said: “Having officers based within and dedicated to the communities in which they serve will really benefit those communities.
“These officers will soon become familiar faces in their areas.”
The teams will be made up as follows and operate from the below bases:
- Alston and The Moor – based out of the Alston police hub
- Appleby and Kirkby Stephen – based out of Appleby Police Station
- Shap, The Lake and North Eden – based out of Shap Fire Station