IN the same week that MP Sue Hayman called for CCTV in Cockermouth following a spate of crimes, the town council met with police to discuss the way ahead.

Mrs Hayman has written to Nick Hurd, the Minister for Policing, and Peter McCall, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, calling for action.

“If we are to catch the perpetrators, then we need CCTV to be installed in the town centre as a matter of urgency, and we need to see more police officers on our streets," said Mrs Hayman.

Inspector Rachel Gale attended a meeting of Cockermouth Town Council on Wednesday, to discuss policing in the town. At last month's meeting councillors had raised concerns and decided to look into installing CCTV.

Councillor Alan Smith said: "We have been hit by a crime wave over the last six to eight weeks. Why is it happening?"

Inspector Gale said: "The numbers are still relatively low in comparison to other areas although I realise the impact on the community and small independent businesses."

She said that there has been more of a police presence in town following the recent recruitment of four extra officers in Allerdale.

"Cockermouth is one of the areas they're prioritising. I hope that shops have seen a visible increase in officers, they have been there at night and also through the day," she said.

She also supported the council's calls for CCTV and said the police CCTV manager could meet with them to discuss the options.

"There is a willingness to work together and get systems in place," she said.

Councillors decided that a special meeting would be held at which they could discuss CCTV with the police and other providers. Concerns were raised about the long-term cost of monitoring.

"We need to look at all the options and hear from different providers, it's a big decision," said Councillor Eric Nicholson.

Various shops were targetted over the festive period, causing thousands of pounds of damage and resulting in many windows being boarded up.

“The news of the crimes in Cockermouth has been devastating for the local community," said Mrs Hayman.

"I’ve spoken to a number of shopkeepers whose premises have been broken into, and they shared with me their concerns around the lack of police presence on our high streets, and the lack of CCTV provision.

“Police numbers have been slashed due to central Government cuts, and local traders are suffering as a result.

"The situation has got to a point now where there is a serious risk of shop owners simply closing down their businesses, leaving rows of empty shops throughout the town centre."

Mrs Hayman has asked the Minister and Police and Crime Commissioner to set out what measures they will be taking to address this issue.

"Shopkeepers need to know that their businesses will be kept safe from criminals or they will simply close down or take their business elsewhere, and that would be catastrophic for the town centre and the local economy," she said.