RESIDENTS fear that Longtown’s been bypassed in countywide initiatives to beef up police numbers.

Councillors made the claim at a meeting at an online Arthuret Parish Council meeting last week.

They say the town is missing out on initiatives to fortify the local police presence, such as the recent increase in the council tax police precept and Operation Uplift, a UK Government drive to boost policing by 20,000 across the country.

At the meeting, Councillor Christine Johannsen said: “The Allerdale community has benefitted from the expansion of neighbourhood policing, Wigton is the most recent community to benefit from the local new officers along with Alston, Shap, Keswick Brampton, Appleby by September.

“There is no sign of Longtown being in among them.

“I know they are in the surrounding areas but are these officers going to be coming to make a visible to the community in support of what has been happening in Longtown.

“How are we going to see the policing on foot in the community?"

Val Tarbitt, a county and city councillor who attended the meeting, said: “I’m surprised that we are being missed out in that initiative, I know that Wigton for example has a very tough time with behaviour in the town and I think a hard kind of anti-social behaviour that we have.

“We need to see PCSOs on the street.”

In September, Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall announced that the Cumbria constabulary had recruited the first 51 officers in the first phase of Operation Uplift ahead of the deadline in March 2021, and more would be recruited.

He said: “The Cumbria constabulary has been able to increase its establishment and to recruit and extra 96 officers, they are now in place.

“With the increased number of officers we have been able to pilot placing officers back in to rural areas including Keswick, Ambleside, Brampton, Shap, Appleby, Wigton, Windermere, Dalton and Alston and we hope to expand this initiative even further across the county as Operation Uplift phase two.

“Decisions on deployment of officers is the responsibility of the chief constable based on operational priorities remembering that there is a great deal of police work which continues to be unseen by the public.

“I would reassure Arthuret Parish Council and the community are not forgotten.

“Whilst more officers are being distributed around the county they will continue to serve not just the towns from which they deploy, but also covering the surrounding area, thus everyone has better service and coverage.

“Phase two of Operation Uplift will be announced soon and we will be getting another allocation of officers from April 21.”