Another Cumbrian community are to benefit by getting a dedicated local police team stationed in their town.
Wigton is the latest place 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.
Five officers will be based in the Local Links Building at the Market Hall in Wigton which is run by the North Allerdale Development Trust (NADT).
Sandra Keaveney, CEO of NADT said “The trust are delighted to help accommodate this important service for Wigton and the local area”
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 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 would of course like to see local officers in every small town in the county and I know the majority of the public want to see that too and of course paying for that is the hard part and this must be led by the Operational requirement.
“I am pleased that we have now started the process in various parts of the county and that we are able to place local officers back in to Wigton and give the town a visible police presence.
“The geography of Cumbria does present a Policing challenge and some of our communities do have significant travelling time from the main Police Stations and this is of course a consideration when deploying Police Officers.
“Wigton is the most recent community to benefit from local officers with Alston, Shap, Ambleside, Keswick, Brampton and Appleby also receiving community officers in September.
“Raising council tax is always a difficult decision but when I see communities benefitting from the rise I know it is the right decision.
“Together with the Chief Constable we are engaged with the Home Office to ensure we get a fair share of Phase two and three of Operation Uplift, the government programme to recruit 20,000 officers, so that we can extend this to other communities across the county to make Cumbria an even safer place to live.”
Inspector Steven Waddell is the inspector in charge of the Wigton policing team.
He said: “Wigton is just one of the many areas this year that we have been able to have officers placed back into the community.
“Whilst we have always had officers policing the area, local officers are able to respond more efficiently and effectively to local concerns.
“They will also gain a better understanding of local issues, as well as providing a recognisable presence.
"Having officers based back within Wigton, who are dedicated to the community will really benefit the area and local community.
“We are aware of a number of issues raised by the local community such as antisocial driving and these officer will look to work with the local community and partner agency’s to tackle the issues."