Hundreds of cases of suspected abuse are being logged across Cumbria every month, latest figures show.

The average total of concerns raised with Cumbria County Council every month now stands at about 400, a meeting in Kendal was told yesterday.

The total number of “safeguarding” concerns in the county has reached more than 1,700, concerning 1,500 people.

But council officials told a meeting of the scrutiny advisory board that the figures are “stable”.

Social workers, health staff, care home workers and police, are obliged to flag up “safeguarding concerns” to protect people from potential harm.

The system is designed to ensure that the public agencies act if they fear someone is being physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially, or sexually abused. Concerns about neglect are also raised concerning the young, old or vulnerable

But family members, friends and neighbours are also raising concerns.

Staff at hospitals in Carlisle, Barrow, Whitehaven and Kendal, have rung the alarm bell over people in their care, along with staff at community hospitals in Penrith, Cockermouth, Brampton and Wigton.

The age range of people subject to the greatest number of safeguarding concerns are those aged between 16 and 64, but alerts have also been raised about those aged 90 or over.

Adrienne Halliwell, senior manager for safeguarding at the council, told the meeting: “The predominant type of abuse is physical abuse followed by acts of neglect, or omission, which can relate to things like someone not being given their medication in a care home.”

A very high percentage of concerns never end up as a full safeguarding inquiry, and Nick Cotton questioned if this was good or bad.

Mrs Halliwell said: “In Cumbria, we encourage everybody to raise a concern if they have one. We log everything and make inquiries on everything. There will be a lot of inquiries that when you look into them they have perfectly reasonable explanations.

“Somebody may have reported a bruise on somebody and when you go out to see them they can fully explain how they had fallen or tripped over.”

Mrs Halliwell said the council tried to be reasonable with organisations such as care homes where genuine errors could occur.

Committee member John Mallinson told the panel that initially he was concerned about the bureaucracy of the safeguarding reporting process, but now he understands it, he feels it is “fair and balanced”.