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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Crime in Cumbria down to lowest level ever, say police

Crime in Cumbria has plummeted to the lowest levels since records began.

Bernard Lawson photo
Bernard Lawson

The county saw an 11 per cent drop last year, matching the levels seen in 1974, Cumbria’s top police officer has revealed.

Temporary Chief Constable Bernard Lawson also said police staffing levels have been maintained.

More than 20 of the county’s 95 PCSOs left to join the regular force last year but all have been replaced.

Mr Lawson, who was giving his annual policing update to a full meeting of Cumbria County Council yesterday, confirmed that all 1,134 police staff were retained over the last year.

He also threw his backing behind the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes, who sparked controversy after it was revealed he had spent £700 of public money on two chauffeur-driven trips.

Carlisle councillor Willie Whalen said integrity was very important and asked Mr Lawson about his relationship with the Police and Crime Commissioner, a role introduced in 2012.

Mr Lawson said: “It is different working with one individual as opposed to 17. I find him extremely committed to delivering services in Cumbria and he works tirelessly to do that.

“He is helping with issues around CCTV and has been able to pull people together and is now trying to deal with sexual assault referral centres.”

In his update Mr Lawson revealed the force handled 350,000 calls from the public in 2013 and officers were called out to two in every five.

He said the majority were reports of antisocial behaviour while only 17 per cent related to crime – the same amount as traffic-related incidents.

Mr Lawson said: “Cumbria is a safe county with only 23,000 crimes a year. We are determined to deliver the best possible policing services – we are not perfect, we make mistakes and get things wrong.

“But our intention is to maintain low crime levels.”

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