DEDICATED police officers are due to be deployed in a Furness town.

New rural officers will be stationed in Ulverston in a scheme bringing extra police to a number of areas in the county.

Cumbria Police said officers would come to Ulverston later this year.

The rural officers are funded by Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, through the increase in council tax and through the Government’s Operation Uplift, which saw Cumbria Constabulary recruit 51 extra officers in the first phase of the operation.

One year on from the Constabulary’s expansion of rural deployment, officers are now being deployed to other towns spread throughout the county.

The expansion, announced in March 2020, resulted in officers who would previously have been deployed from a large, area police station returning to being based out of the towns in which they patrol.

The initial two pilot areas were Ambleside and Windermere and Brampton and Longtown.

The scheme has since been extended to Keswick, Millom, Wigton, Appleby and Kirby Stephen and Alston.

Superintendent for south Cumbria Matt Pearman said: “The launch of the rural deployment model one year ago gave us extra officers in rural communities allowing us to respond quickly when they are needed most.

“In recent years it had not been possible to deploy officers from the smaller towns and communities that we serve. However, we are now able to do that once more and it has been welcomed by the local community and the officers alike.

“Officers being embedded in their communities are able to engage more easily and thereby have a better understanding of people’s concerns and emerging crime trends. The aim being that we can identify issues quickly and tackle them before they can take hold.”

In south Cumbria, the rollout of rural deployment is said to have allowed proactive teamwork to target cross-border criminals involved in rural crime, including quad bikes and machinery theft.

This resulted in an incident on the A590 at Newby Bridge in the early hours of the morning where four men from outside the county, along with lurcher dogs, were stopped in a car.

Following a search of the vehicle, all four were arrested on suspicion of going equipped, poaching and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. The driver of the vehicle was also arrested for drug driving, police said.

Police and crime commissioner Peter McCall, said: “Cumbria is a large and mostly rural community with many of our local areas being hard to reach quickly.

“That’s why it is so important that we have these Officers based in our local communities – not only can they react and reach emergency calls quicker but they can learn more about the area, be closer to the community and to grip issues early.

“I think we have to recognise that some criminals may have felt untouchable in these more remote locations, they are wrong and I hope this helps reassure our local communities that the police will be dealing with criminality and keeping our rural towns and their wider areas safe.

“I’m pleased to say that we have seen a steady increase in officers and together with Operation Uplift we’ve been able to place these Police Officers back where the public want to see them and it’s clear that they are already proving effective in our smaller communities.

“It’s never an easy decision to raise council tax, but it is important that the public see what they are getting in return.

“Already we’ve seen an increase in officers from 1120 in 2016 to 1233 today, an increase of 113 with more to come and I know the Officers will continue to do an incredible job for all of our urban and rural areas.

“We have made some real headway so far and I look forward to seeing the expansion of more rural officers across the county.”