Police are continuing work to ensure Workington town centre stays a welcoming place for all – following the launch of a string of measures to tackle theft and anti-social behaviour.
Officers in Allerdale have reacted quickly to address concerns over a number of issues in recent months, including problems with shoplifting and public drinking.
This has seen them using a range of methods to deal with developing issues and make sure shops and residents continue to see the town centre as a welcoming place to shop, socialise and do business.
The measures launched have seen:
- High visibility patrols sent out to enforce the drinking exclusion zone in the town centre.
- A dispersal order being put in place to move on youths causing anti-social behaviour in the town centre
- The pursuit of a string of Criminal Behaviour Orders through the courts to protect stores from shoplifters.
The public and businesses have reacted positively to the measures, with officers on patrol reporting good feedback from the public.
More is to come to make sure the town centre stays somewhere for all to enjoy.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Lorraine Murphy said: “Our officers work hard all-year-round to tackle and deter crime and when we see a developing trend we aim to move as fast as possible to address that problem.
“That has seen us bring in a number of measures in recent weeks while also continuing to pursue other ways to address crime and anti-social behaviour.
“This is high visibility, proactive policing responding directly to concerns from the community and all with the aim of making sure Workington town centre remains a welcoming place for all.
“Further activity to prevent other behaviour that is causing concern will be tackled in a variety of ways over the coming months to ensure the town centre remains a vibrant area for all to enjoy peacefully and lawfully.”
Four people have been handed shop bans this summer following efforts to protect businesses and their staff.
Officers working in neighbourhood policing and from the Allerdale Local Focus Hub say they will not tolerate thieves targeting shops.
As a result, officers have applied for criminal behaviour orders for two people – and had existing orders tightened up on two others.
Criminal behaviour orders are issued by courts and place restrictions on people. In these cases they include bans from shops.
PC Leesa Edwards said: “These orders are a fantastic tool to assist police and businesses to tackle shoplifting, which can cause great distress to those who suffer this on a regular basis.
“Retail staff should not have to face people intent on thieving.
“Therefore we will continue to apply for these orders whenever possible to reduce this type of crime in our towns.”
Those subject to orders being issued or amended in recent weeks are:
- Colin Orr, 49, of Blackburn Street, Workington, was handed a Criminal Behaviour Order banning him from entering any property or premises that are members of the Whitehaven and Workington shopwatch schemes.
- Gemma Macauley, 35, of William Street, Workington, had a pre-existing Criminal Behaviour Order tightened up. In total, she must not enter any Boots store in west Cumbria; not enter any B&M store in west Cumbria; not enter any premises on the Whitehaven, Workington and Cockermouth shopwatch schemes.
- Michael Peter Burns, of William Street, Workington, 35, has had a Criminal Behaviour Order varied. His total conditions ban him from: entering any shops or properties that are members of the Whitehaven Shopwatch Scheme, excluding the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven; entering any shops or premises that are members of Copeland Rural Shop Watch scheme; entering Aldi, Whitehaven; entering Poundland, Whitehaven; entering Pelican, Hills Service Station, Whitehaven; entering B&M, Maryport; entering shops of Workington and Cockermouth shopwatch schemes.
- Marc McIvor, 30, of Hilary Close, Workington, was given a Criminal Behaviour Order banning him from: entering any Asda store in west Cumbria; entering any B&M store in west Cumbria; entering any Travis Perkins store in west Cumbria; entering the Lakes Home Centre, Low Road, Cockermouth.
Sergeant Murphy explained some of the work going on with shops in Allerdale – and why police apply for Criminal Behaviour Orders.
Sgt Murphy said: “Applying for a Criminal Behaviour Order through the courts is a last resort.
“They are aimed at preventing habitual shoplifting to stop the misery caused to businesses trying to make a living, pay their staff and provide a service.
“Shoplifting is not a victimless crimes. It hits businesses, which contribute to the economy of Allerdale and provide jobs.
“I would encourage anyone who witnesses the terms of such a court order being broken to contact the police immediately.
“Police will continue to work with businesses and, with the support of the courts, will aim to ensure that shoplifters are stopped from targeting stores in our community.”
Peter McCall, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Cumbrian businesses work hard for their livelihoods, provide vital services to local residents and do not deserve to be targeted by mindless thieves.
“Criminal Behaviour Orders are introduced to help these businesses stay protected from crime and I hope that anyone thinking of stealing from their local shops are deterred knowing that they could be ordered to stay out of shops on such a large scale.
“I am 100 per cent in support of the police in applying these orders to those who think they can steal from local businesses; these are not victimless crimes, they will not be tolerated and the police will deal robustly with offenders.
“We need shop owners, employees and local residents to help by reporting any shoplifters so that the police are aware of the individuals and can take action.”
On the overall work, Mr McCall added: “I am pleased to see officers reacting quickly to address concerns from the public.
“We all want shop staff and residents to continue to see the town centre as a welcoming place.”
ENFORCING THE DRINKING EXCLUSION ZONE
Steps were taken last month to highlight the drinking exclusion zone in the town centre, with new signs going up spelling out the ban.
The aim is to prevent the type of anti-social behaviour associated with public drinking – which can also be linked to drug abuse – and ensure the town centre stays a welcoming place for all.
Patrols involving police officers and community support officers have been out to monitor and implement this exclusion zone, covering the town centre.
Early indications suggest the message has got out and most people are respecting the ban.
Officers have also reported positive comments from the public on the patrols and the enforcement of the ban.
The patrols have led to people in the street being given advice about the ban, drink being seized and poured away and stop searches for other suspected offences.
Sergeant Murphy said: “Our officers have been proactively enforcing the ban and will continue to do so.
“We’ve been encouraged by the fact the message seems to have got out and most people are respecting the exclusion zone.
“But those who persist in this type of anti-social behaviour will be spoken to and further action taken if necessary.
“The order allows officers to prevent people from consuming alcohol in a public place, confiscate alcohol from those people drinking in public and pursue prosecutions should people not comply with the request from officers.”
Work has been carried out by neighbourhood police team officers and the Allerdale Local Focus hub, which is a group of partner agencies.
DEALING WITH YOUTH ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
Allerdale police are urging parents to check where their children are and what they are doing following reports of anti-social behaviour in and around Workington town centre.
A dispersal order – covering Workington town centre and Vulcan Park – has been put in place a number of times in the last two weeks to deal with complaints about problem behaviour by teenagers.
It means anyone deemed likely to cause disorder or harassment, alarm of distress to the public can be ordered to leave the area for up to 48 hours.
The order has been used a number of times to disperse groups.
The reports have centred on complaints of youths causing criminal damage, harassment and contributing to anti-social behaviour.
The importance of closing the gates that are either end of the back lane that runs from Murray Road to U