Cumbria Police has received an extra £1 million to tackle anti-social behaviour and serious violence in hotspots across the county.

Operation Enhance is the new county-wide crackdown on anti-social behaviour and serious violence that will see extra visible police patrols in 18 areas in Cumbria to take tough action against offenders. 

The hotspots are in Barrow, Workington, Maryport, Whitehaven, Cleator Moor, Carlisle, Penrith, Kendal, Ulverston, and Bowness on Windermere.

Chief Superintendent Mick Bird said: "Serious violence and antisocial behaviour has a significant impact on victims, but it's also the wider communities it impacts as well.

"Now, whilst the forces have responded to this and it prioritises this and it always has, Operation Enhance will give us an opportunity to dedicate specific resources to patrolling in the hotspot areas where we know these things are most prevalent to give us the best and most effective policing response."

Anti-social behaviour is an issue in Carlisle where residents have reported being shot at with BB pellets in a local park and being frightened by young people on motorbikes mounting the pavements in Harraby, others say there are empty nitrous oxide cannisters and children throwing things at strangers in the city centre.

One resident said: "I've lived in Carlisle over 20 odd years now and genuinely like the place but I avoid the city centre whenever possible."

Another said: "McDonald's in the city centre is usually a place to avoid on an evening."

Inspector Andy Leather, who works on the neighbourhood policing team, says that the majority of anti-social behaviour is linked to young people between the ages of 12 and 16. 

The kinds of behaviour they're seeing in the city centre involves public order offences such as shouting and petty crimes such as low level criminal damage as well as behaviour that's more of a nuisance like throwing devil snaps to make a bang and using water pistols. 

Inspector Leather says that the extra funding will bolster work already being done to tackle the issue by providing additional resources and visible policing during key times which is what people have asked for. 

"We have certain days and times of the week where we do see a rise in a peak in anti-social behaviour, the weekend being one of them," said Inspector Leather.

"Saturdays and Sundays, kind of late afternoon is always a peak.

"We do have recurring issues around anti-social behaviour, but it is something that we've tried very hard to look at, not just the short term fixes, but also long term problem solving, working with partner agencies.

"Because a lot of people are passing through, it is difficult to address, but it's certainly something that we are working towards and making some very positive inroads."

The extra funding was secured by Police, Fire, and Crime Commissioner David Allen from the Government's Hotspot Response Fund. 

Cumbria Police will tackle the issues alongside Cumberland Council, Westmorland and Furness Council, as well as local partners. 

"It's a million pounds extra that we didn't have and don't have," said Mr Allen. 

"It allows me to put additional resources into the 18 hot spot areas where we know that crime, serious violence and disorder are occurring.

"To put it into context, where these things are occurring. 0.1% of our geography, that's all it covers, yet it accounts for 24% of all antisocial behaviour and serious violence."

The hotspot areas were chosen by looking at four years worth of data and seeing where the greatest incidents of anti-social behaviour occur.

Cumbria Police is hoping that there will be a dual effect of both visible policing and swifter action serving as a deterrent to those who engage in anti-social behaviour. 

But, they are encouraging people to continue to report any instances of anti-social behaviour they witness. 

Chief Superintendent Bird said: "A lot of people assume the Police knows everything that goes on, and ultimately, the more we know, the more we can do, the more we can focus our limited resources in key areas.

"But without the full picture, it's very difficult to do that.

"So anybody who does experience or witnesses this, my advice would be please contact the Police."