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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

Crime chief’s pledge over drop in police numbers

The decline in police numbers in Maryport was described as “extraordinary” by the county’s new police commissioner this week.

A town council meeting with police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes on Monday highlighted areas of concern.

  • There was criticism that Maryport’s police presence had been reduced to one PCSO.
  • The PCSO, who starts and finishes his shift in Workington, travels in uniform on public transport to Maryport because he is not given a car.
  • Mr Rhodes agreed to reopen a discussion about having police based in Maryport Town Hall when the town’s police station closes.

The meeting was the first chance for town councillors to raise concerns with the recently appointed crime chief.

Town mayor Carol Tindall told Mr Rhodes that the town’s sole PCSO travelled alone, in uniform, on public transport to reach Maryport.

Mr Rhodes said this was “hardly a path to longevity”.

At its height Maryport had 20 police officers, including three sergeants and one inspector, at its Eaglesfield Street station. Now there is one officer who covers Flimby, Maryport and Dearham with no vehicle.

There is growing concern about crime even though response officers are called from Workington and police say there are still regular patrols.

Mr Rhodes said that while he did not interfere with operational matters, he did have regular meetings with the chief constable and would raise Maryport Town Council’s concerns.

He was also asked to challenge statistics, which seemed to indicate that crime was falling when there was a local perception that crime in Maryport was on the rise.

Mr Rhodes agreed to reopen a discussion about having police based in the town hall – an idea mooted by Chief Constable Stuart Hyde, which fell by the wayside when he was suspended.

Mr Rhodes also agreed to look at partnerships between local authorities and the police to provide CCTV cameras.

He said there was a proposal to have all the county’s CCTV cameras monitored from police headquarters in Penrith, which councillors welcomed.

Coun Tindall said her house was one of nearly 50 that had been broken into in the past couple of months.

She said: “I called the police and I have to say they responded quickly. But, two weeks later, I am still waiting for the forensic people to arrive.”

She had received a letter from the police advising that it was unlikely that the crime would be solved.

Coun Peter Kendall said local police knowledge was being lost.

A police spokeswoman said officers and PCSOs had been deployed from Workington police station for some years.

She said the level of visible policing in Maryport had not been affected as officers used mobile technology in vehicles, which reduced the need to return to a police station and resulted in more time on patrol.

She added: “PCSOs are encouraged to use public transport during their deployment as it maintains their visibility to the public and also encourages engagement with the community.”

She acknowledged that there had been an increase in the number of reported burglaries in the Maryport area, which were being investigated.

Have your say

I was a PC in Maryport, but have been retired for ten years, there was an Inspector and three Sergeants, and we were always busy working three shifts. This is a joke and the residents of Maryport deserve better.One PCSO is a chocolate fireguard.

Posted by mr james pegrum on 13 July 2013 at 01:13

The police are again on the wrong end of someones displeasure- strangely though this time, the one who is criticising them is supposed to be on their side. Like it or not, the police have a difficult job to do, and with the constant slashing of budgets, the thin blue line is becoming a dotted one, nevertheless they have to get on with it with whatever resources are made available to them by the Government. Mr Rhodes comments are again unhelpful- granted, its exactly what the Town Council wanted to hear from him, but don't be fooled- he's simply trying to curry favour with his critics after his recent expenses scandal- after which to be honest he should have fallen on his sword and had the decency to resign. Perhaps he should remember this before he starts throwing stones- or perhaps think about what he is going to say, before he actually blurts it out? I wonder if he and his "team" were disbanded, how much more money the police would have to plough into fighting crime- without having to worry about fighting from within.

Posted by Concerned West Cumbrian on 9 July 2013 at 11:33

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