Cumbria Constabulary is to enhance the provision for policing rural areas - starting with a pilot scheme launching today (2 March, 2020).
Following the recruitment of additional officers - made possible due to the public support for the increase in the police council tax precept and Operation Uplift - the Constabulary will begin to reintroduce the stationing of officers in rural towns, beginning with Ambleside and Brampton.
Starting today, officers who would previously deploy from large police stations before travelling into rural areas will now be stationed in smaller towns. At both Ambleside and Brampton, existing police buildings will be used but other options are being explored to collaborate with public services across the county.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “There is no question about it that the public want to see more police officers in the community and I am pleased that after three years working on this, we are now in a position to start basing officers back where the public want to see them.
Working with the Chief Constable, we now have a plan to achieve this, starting with the pilots in Brampton and Ambleside with more locations to follow as we recruit more officers.
“The new police officers will be a significant boost for rural areas. It will also mean that police officers in urban areas will be able to focus specifically on those locations, providing a more visible policing presence. In Cumbria, we are a small police force and as such the numbers may be modest but, as we have seen, the previous additional 25 proactive officers make a huge difference. This is a really important start and at the same time allows the capacity to deal with more serious crime investigations.
"I would like to thank the public for their continued support as we continue to cut crime, catch criminals and make our streets even safer.”
Assistant Chief Constable for Cumbria Constabulary Andrew Slattery said: "Whilst we have always had officers policing rural areas such as Ambleside and Brampton, this is most effective when they are based in the community they serve.
"Cumbria is a unique county which covers a large geographical area and in recent years, as police forces across the country have been forced to adapt to changing resources, it has not been possible to maintain local stations. However, the increase we have seen in the number of police officers has provided us the opportunity to increase our effectiveness and visibility in rural areas."
The initial trial period will last for six months. During this time, other options will be explored with the goal of further improving rural policing in the county.
ACC Slattery said: "Having officers based out of the communities in which they serve will really benefit those communities.
"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, providing a recognisable presence for local people.”