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Only 13 per cent of Cumbrian police officers ‘visible and available’ to public

ONLY 13 per cent of police officers and force community support officers in Cumbria are “visible and available” to the public at any one time, a report claims.

On the beat: But most police are do other work

Figures from the TaxPayers’ Alliance point to a total of just under 170 officers and PCSOs out of the 1,228 employed last year being out on patrol at any single point.

Cumbria did, however, have one of the higher figures for officer visibility among forces across the country, with most registering numbers below those in the county.

The constabulary has also pointed to its continuing falling crime rates and good results in surveys among the public as showing it has an “appropriate level of cover” on the streets.

There could also never be a 100 per cent “visible and available” police force as officers have to have days off and work on shift patterns.

Those behind the report say getting police on the streets helps officers prevent and respond to crime.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria police said the constabulary compared well with other forces, was “among the highest performing” areas and was also “committed to maintaining frontline policing within budgetary constraints”.

She added: “The constabulary ensures that staffing resources are used to the best effect and that there is an appropriate level of cover necessary for day-to-day business out on the streets.

“Cumbria Constabulary recognises the importance of our officers and community support officers being visible to the public, which is delivered through community policing.

“Crime has fallen by 4.5 per cent for the 12 months to June 2012 and there is an upward trend in public perceptions of police.

“In 2011/12, 68.3 per cent of adults thought their local police were doing an excellent or good job, while 81.5 per cent of adults surveyed had confidence in their local police.”

The TaxPayers’ Alliance describes itself as Britain’s “independent, grassroots campaign for lower taxes and better government”.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive, spoke about the national picture. He said: “Of course the police have important work to do that will sometimes legitimately stop them being available for visible policing. But the large differences between forces suggests some are giving taxpayers much better value for money.

“At a time of necessary restraint in public spending, police chiefs must ensure their budgets are spent effectively.”

Have your say

Anon - if you want the police there quickly, tell them you are beating your wife up. Alternatively, tempt them with pies or doughnuts.

Posted by Derek on 10 January 2013 at 07:51

Judging by the comments we would be better off stepping back 200 years and employing 'watchmen/women' to do the general police work and let the cops get on with what they do best... driving around in new cars and protecting the pie shops.

Posted by Clive on 9 January 2013 at 15:24

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