CUMBRIA’s police and crime commissioner Peter McCall will be tackled on the Conservatives’ spending promises at a meeting next week.

New Home Secretary Priti Patel pledged a range of investments at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester including:

£750 million for 20,000 extra officers nationwide

£10 million to equip more frontline officers with tasers,

A series of measures to tackle County Lines drug dealing

Mr McCall, the Conservative PCC, faces the Cumbria Police and Crime Panel in Penrith on Monday.

The cross-party committee of county councillors scrutinising his role is chaired by Barrow’s Ormsgill councillor Bill McEwan who said he is keen to get the commissioner’s views on the spending pledges.

Cllr McEwan said more tasers would be useful and additional officers on the rail network could help snare ‘drug mules’ involved in County Lines crime.

However, as a Labour councillor, Cllr McEwan added: “I am slightly cynical when Boris promises 20,000 extra officers because it’s only replacing what they took off us in the first place. Is it real money or are they just pushing this ahead of a general election?”

Mr McCall said the pledge of 20,000 officers was welcome – particularly as they would be ‘centrally funded’ from Home Office budgets, rather than being paid for by a hike in council tax.

He said several police forces were making the case for more officers and he hoped to ensure rural police forces were not left behind.

“140 new officers for Cumbria is what I will be battling for,” said Mr McCall. “We don’t know exactly how many we will get yet and there will be a bunfight as to who gets what. I’m determined we get our fair share and that they not just going to go only on the Metropolitan police areas.”

Mr McCall gave a cautious welcome to more tasers being rolled out and said his preference would be that they were given to ‘single crew’ officers working at night in rural areas, far away from police back up.

Mr McCall added: “Anything that cracks down on County Lines is a good thing.  We need to be working more closely with our colleagues in the British Transport Police, but we must also be really agile because if you close one loophole on the rail network, the next thing is the drug dealers will be travelling by buses.”