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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Police patrols with dogs ease fears on Carlisle estate

Drug crime is being sniffed out in a bid to ease fears in a troubled community.

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Police in the Stanhope Road/Dowbeck Road area

Teams of plain-clothed and uniformed police officers and sniffer dogs hit the streets.

The high-profile policing operation, which concentrated on the Stanhope Road and Dowbeck Road areas of Carlisle, came in response to residents’ fears over drug use and dealing and anti social behaviour.

Officers targeted areas known to be hot spots for drug crime and sniffer dogs carried out random searches to try to detect any illegal substances.

About six people were searched on the night, including one vehicle search, in the Currock and Dowbeck Road areas.

A 21-year-old man was arrested and later charged with possession of cannabis and attempted possession of amphetamine.

And in a drink-related incident, a 52-year-old woman was found alone in the street in Milholme Avenue in the freezing cold and rain.

She was taken to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle to be checked over but she was not thought to be seriously unwell.

PC Stuart Mitchelhill, who led the operation at the weekend, hailed it a success despite the bad weather.

He said: “Our aim was to disrupt activity and to find out addresses and persons of interest and we were successful in gathering that information.”

PC Mitchelhill added that officers would be carrying out more operations in the near future.

Sergeant Mike James said the operation was kept under wraps to maintain the element of surprise among potential criminal activity. He also highlighted the importance of police showing the community that they are responding to their concerns.

“We don’t want to increase tensions by picking on people so we had a targeted approach in response to information from members of the public,” Sgt James explained.

“Some people feel unsafe because of drug taking or dealing. Our community are saying they have had enough and it can’t go on so we want to disrupt it.”

It comes after a recent two-night Street Safe event involving police, trading standards, firefighters, council and housing officials.

The aim was to find out what people were most worried about and how the issues could be tackled in future after firefighters and paramedics were attacked by a gang in Dowbeck Road last Bonfire Night as they tried to put out a fire.

Investigations also uncovered other issues such as piles of rubbish, damaged fences, graffiti and general mess in the area.

Coleen Baker, community project co-ordinator at the Trinity Area Community Trust in Stanhope Road, said residents were beginning to feel safer thanks to the increased police presence.

“The unrest and trouble has been caused by a small minority,” she explained.

“The vast majority are fantastic law-abiding people so it’s great that the police are becoming more involved in the area.

“It will send a message out that this crime is not okay and the majority of people will feel safer.”

She also praised police for forging strong relationships with the community, which in turn will encourage people to pass on information about crime.

Mrs Baker added: “The police are often viewed with suspicion and if people are seen to be talking to them it can cause problems.

“But thanks to the work from other agencies people feel more confident about passing on information now.”

  • A public meeting is being held at the Holy Trinity Church in Stanhope Road, Carlisle, next Monday at 6pm. Police, housing officers from Riverside, and local councillors will be in attendance. There will be an update from the last Street Safe event and residents are invited to raise concerns and ask questions.

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