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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

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Millom ‘has lost faith in police’

MILLOM has lost faith in the law, Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner has been told.

Richard Rhodes met with councillors from Millom to give them the opportunity to discuss issues in the area.

They raised their concerns about a perceived lack of police presence and lengthy waiting times for emergency response.

And mayor of Millom, Councillor Brian Crawford, told Mr Rhodes how people living in the area had lost their faith in police.

He said: “All people have got here is 101. I don’t think people in Millom have the confidence to report things anymore.

“Stories go around about people reporting things and nothing happening, and people have just given up. It’s down to the police to convince the public that it isn’t a waste of space.”

Members of the council in Millom have long expressed a belief the town’s police force is inadequate.

When the local station closed in 2012 the police hub in Millom moved to the Network Centre, in Salthouse Road. Without proper facilities, officers making arrests in the town now have no choice but to travel to Workington to make use of the cells.

Mr Rhodes said: “Unfortunately, police presence is based on how many calls are taken, and if only five people a week were reporting something it was not being used sufficiently.”

Councillor Doug Wilson added it was a case of “use it or lose it”.

Mr Rhodes also listened to comments made by the council about emergency response, but defended the county’s police, saying the average response time for rural crimes is 20 minutes.

He said: “The figures I get tell me that a 20-minute response time is fulfilled 98 per cent of the time. Clearly, if that’s not happening anywhere, I need to know about it.”

Mr Rhodes stressed that the problems being faced in Millom were identical to those throughout the whole of Cumbria.

He said: “After carrying out surveys on the victims of crime I’ve learned that a huge amount of crime is going unreported.

“When a report is made, it’s absolutely essential that it’s taken seriously and followed up by the constabulary.”

Mr Rhodes also discussed signing off a new vehicle that is to be introduced to Cumbria and Millom in the future. Though early in the process, he explained that the large vehicles would act as mobile police stations, with two holding cells and an office onboard.

He asked members of the council to record information regarding police response in the area for a period of a month and report back to him.

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