Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is supporting Cumbria Constabulary is to extend a pilot project to enhance the provision for policing rural areas in and around Keswick.
Earlier this month, the pilot project began with the reintroduction of deploying police officers directly from bases in Ambleside and Brampton. The extension of the project will now see officers based in, and deployed from Keswick – sharing office resources with fire and rescue service colleagues at Keswick Fire Station.
From this week, police officers who would previously deploy from other police stations before travelling to Keswick will now deploy and work directly from the town.
The partnership means that police will be able to respond more efficiently to local incidents, as well as providing opportunities for further collaborative working in future, and maximising the availability of resources within the town.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall said: “The public want to see more police officers in the community and I am pleased that after working for three years to increase officer numbers, we can begin to place officers in our rural communities.
“We have recently placed officers in Ambleside and Brampton and we are now extending the pilot to Keswick, with more locations to follow.
“The new police officers will be a significant boost for rural areas.
“It will also mean that police officers in our larger towns and urban areas will be able to focus specifically on those locations, providing a more visible policing presence for residents in those areas.
“In Cumbria, we are a small police force and as such the numbers may be modest but, as we have seen, the previous additional 25 proactive officers make a huge difference.
“This is a really important start and at the same time allows the capacity to deal with more serious crime investigations.
“I am particularly pleased to be able to work in close collaboration with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service in using the Fire Station in Keswick which allows us to focus resource on more Police Officers rather than buildings. I hope we shall be able to continue to develop this collaboration which works to the benefit of residents across the county.”
The pilot has been made possible due to public support for the increase in the police precept and Operation Uplift.
Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery said: “I would like to thank the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and Cumbria County Council for their support for this project. Deploying officers directly into communities they know best enables us to respond more efficiently and effectively to incidents and local concerns.
“In Cumbria, the Fire and Police services are working closer than ever before. Sharing facilities with ‘blue-light partners means we are able to maximise the use of publicly-owned buildings. This is the first joint Fire and Police Station in the county and will hopefully lead to further joint ventures over coming months.
“This collaboration will benefit the people of Keswick, who will again have officers based in the community in which they serve. It gives me particular pleasure to re-open a police deployment centre in Keswick having served here myself as a Police Constable in the 1990s”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, John Beard said: “Cumbria is a vast county and so the sharing of our facilities with the Constabulary will help to improve services in rural areas and is a positive step forward.
“We are always looking to improve the services our communities receive and we are pleased to support the Constabulary in the delivery of this initiative.
“Having Police officers working alongside our officers in Keswick will not only be of benefit to fire officers and police officers but the people of Cumbria as a whole.”