CALLS have been made for Barrow councillors to plug into a crime-fighting partnership serving South Cumbria.

The South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership (SCCSP) tackles issues such as reducing crime, disorder, substance misuse and re-offending.

Representing South Lakeland and Barrow, it has received £20,000 of funding a year for projects funded by the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.

For the past three years, it was chaired by former Barrow councillor Brendan Sweeney until he stepped down at the May elections with a new chair person to lead it in future.

Simon Blyth, the partnership coordinator who works for SLDC, called on Barrow councillors to attend the meetings, which are four times a year and attract as many as 25 different agencies to share information.

Barrow and South Lakeland previously had separate safety partnerships but were merged into a single one in January 2017.

Cllr Derek Brook, the Labour member for Ormsgill, said: “Once upon a time we had a Barrow one and a South Lakeland one, and they are two very different areas and very different populations. Over the years when it’s been Barrow and South Lakeland the Barrow people don’t tend to go to the Kendal meeting and vice versa.”

However, he pledged that Barrow council ‘improve’ its presence in the South Cumbria group while council chief executive Sam Plum pledged talks with the partnership’s new deputy chairperson, Supt Sarah Jackson, of Cumbria Police, about increasing Barrow’s involvement.

Mrs Plum told councillors: “I think it’s really important in a place like Barrow that we really take this issue seriously and look at how we start to strengthen our leadership role in community safety issues. It’s about more than just attending, as a local authority we have a statutory duty and we are a statutory partner in the partnership.”