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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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MP issues crime rise warning as figures show cuts to Cumbria police

FEARS about policing levels have been raised after it emerged the force has cut almost 100 officers in the past three years.

A parliamentary question submitted by Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, has revealed more than 200 staff and officers have been cut by Cumbria police since 2010.

In 2010 there were 1,220 police officers. This had fallen by 94 to 1,126 in September last year.

Mr Farron said: “These figures are worrying; residents want to see police officers on their streets and these figures show that that isn’t happening.

“I am aware that bobbies on the beat is only one way to tackle crime, but I believe it’s the principal way to reassure the public. I hope we can arrest the decline and do more to support community policing in Cumbria.”

Yesterday home secretary Norman Baker was reported as telling the BBC the reason there are fewer police officers is because crime rates are lower and there is less work. Along with fewer police officers there are 162 fewer police staff – which includes call handlers, desk staff and admin workers – 20 fewer PCSOs and 25 fewer special constables. Crime in Cumbria is down year on year but Furness MP John Woodcock echoed Mr Farron’s concerns.

He said: “Cumbria's police and crime commissioner (Richard Rhodes) is rightly doing what he can to minimise cuts to police officers, but these figures show government claims of protecting the frontline are totally false.

“With nearly 100 fewer officers on the beat in Cumbria than four years ago, along with fewer PCSOs and special constables, the community policing model which was so successful in driving down crime is under threat.

“Unless this trend of falling police numbers is reversed, we risk people across the county feeling less secure and the possibility that the downward trend in crime that this government inherited will be reversed.”

Cumbria police did not comment before the Evening Mail went to press.

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