Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Cumbria police reassure Carlisle residents after violent attacks

Police have spoken out to reassure the people of Carlisle in the wake of two horrific assaults.

Richard Higgin photo
Richard Higgin

The city has been shaken by the violence of the attacks, which left twopeople – including Concrete club manager Tim Ip – in hospital with serious head injuries.

Despite this, officers and those who support them on the streets are keen to reassure the public that their city is still a safe place and they should not be afraid.

Sgt Richard Higgin, who has responsibility for the Carlisle centre beat, reminded residents that while horrific, these attacks are still few and far between.

“When somebody does get assaulted it’s over the front page,” he explained, “which creates a fear of crime.

“I’m not saying it’s wrong to report it – people have a right to know – but it’s what they remember.

“If you went to a bigger city though, you would be looking at stabbings, shootings and murders on a weekend.

“If it is still making front page news, then it is rare.”

Tim Ip, 26, and a friend were assaulted by a group of attackers in Lowther Street in the early hours of Thursday June 7.

Mr Ip suffered serious head injuries and was taken to the Cumberland Infirmary, in Carlisle, but later transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle.

His condition was today “serious but improving”.

A 34-year-old man, from the west of the city, also suffered serious head injuries following an incident in English Street at just before 2am on Tuesday May 1.

The man was originally taken to Cumberland Infirmary, but he too had to be transferred to the RVI after his condition deteriorated.

Sgt Higgin said dramatic changes have been made over the past decade as licensees have stepped up and taken responsibility.

“I’ve been doing the city centre role now for eight years,” he continued. “We have done lots to improve it, from the closure of Botchergate to street pastors; you name it, we’ve done it.

“We have had a very successful Pub Watch in operation for around 15 years. The police aren’t allowed to put people forward for bans, but the licensees do actively and bans range from three months to three years, depending on the severity of the offence.”

It is this partnership working that Sgt Higgin believes has helped reduce crime in the city.

He said: “I think the relationship between police, licensees and door staff has never been better.”

Figures for all crime in Carlisle city centre show a reduction over the past four years, and Sgt Higgin said statistics so far this year already show a 20 per cent reduction against 2011.


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