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Victims and witnesses asked to help

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner is asking victims and witnesses to help improve services for their counterparts in the future.

Richard Rhodes has invited them to take part in a Consultation Group that has been established to ensure that victims and witnesses of crime and antisocial behaviour have a voice.

It is hoped the consultation process will mean that services available to those affected by crime are enhanced.

“Some of the work that the Victim Services Consultation Group will be involved in will include developing and auditing services and being consulted about future initiatives. I am committed to improving the experience of victims.”

– Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes

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Number of rapes reported in Cumbria increases

The number of rapes recorded in Cumbria increased by 23 in the year 2013/14, compared to 2012/13.

The number of prosecutions and convictions also went up between 2012 and 2013, but the figure remains low:

  • Recorded rapes in 2012/2013 - 65 adults, 38 children
  • Recorded rapes in 2013/2014 - 80 adults, 46 children
  • Prosecutions for rape in 2012 - 9
  • Prosecutions for rape in 2013 - 24
  • Convictions for rape in 2012 - 3
  • Convictions for rape in 2013 - 6
25%
Of prosecutions for rape in 2013 led to convictions.

Police appeal for vandalism witnesses

Police are appealing for witnesses after cars and a charity office in Dumfries and Galloway were vandalised.

A silver Jaguar car parked in Annan's Drummond Road was targeted sometime on Thursday night or the early hours of Friday and a blue Ford Fusion - on a driveway of a house at Durisdeer Mill in Thornhill - had its tyres vandalised on three separate occasions between the evening of Sunday 15 February and Thursday morning.

The premises of Apex Scotland in Friars Vennel, Dumfries also had a window smashed on Friday night or the early hours of Saturday morning.

Anybody with information about any of the crimes is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Appeal for custody volunteers

Cumbria police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes Credit: ITV Border

New volunteers are needed to help check on the welfare of people held in police custody.

Cumbria's police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes is calling on west Cumbrians to come forward and join the area's independent custody visiting panel.

The panel comprises up to twelve local people - who have no connection with the police or any part of the criminal justice system - who make weekly unannounced visits, in pairs, to check on the well-being of those held in police custody.

They also ensure the statutory rules governing the way people are detained are being properly observed.

“The panel has lost a number of members through retirements and resignations and urgently needs some new volunteers to come forward to replace them.

“Custody visiting is a vital service which helps to ensure that people’s legal rights are respected and that their welfare and well-being is provided for. The custody visiting scheme offers protection both for detainees and for the police officers and staff who are responsible for their care while in custody and, equally importantly, provides reassurance to the public that people who are detained are treated correctly with respect and appropriate care.”

– Cumbria police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes

The panel, one of four throughout Cumbria, provides visitors who inspect the main designated custody suite at Workington once a week, every week of the year and also visit the cells at Whitehaven police station whenever they are in regular use.

Each visitor makes around eight or ten visits per year, or roughly one every five or six weeks. Full training is provided and travelling and out-of-pocket expenses are payable.

Anyone interested in applying should contact Mr Rhodes’ office in Penrith for more information on 01768 217734, e-mail: commissioner@cumbria-pcc.gov.uk or visit the PCC website at www.cumbria-pcc.gov.uk/recruitment for more details and an application form. The closing date for applications is Friday 27 February.

Man arrested following crime spree

Police in the Borders have arrested and charged a 16-year-old man following a series of crimes committed in the Hawick area.

A total of five crimes were committed between Saturday November 29 and Wednesday January 7, including serious assault, assault and robbery, and theft from a motor vehicle.

He has also been charged with possession of cannabis.

He appeared at Jedbergh Sheriff's Court on Friday, January 9, and was subsequently released on bail.

"These crimes have caused significant distress to a number of people in the Hawick area over recent weeks.

"This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we are committed to ensuring that perpetrators of crimes such as these are found and brought to justice."

– DCI Stephen Healy

Anyone with information regarding these incidents should contact Police Scotland immediately on 101 or contact the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Crackdown on drivers with too much Christmas spirit

Cumbria Police are launching their Christmas crackdown on people who drive whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Credit: PA

To prevent a 'tragic Christmas' people are being asked to do their part for a campaign against drink driving.

Despite a national campaign every December people are still being caught having consumed an excess of alcohol or drugs whilst driving, according to police.

This year police will be steeping up their visibility around the county's pubs and speaking to landlords and their customers about the dangers of drink driving. They will also ask people to report anyone who they suspect is driving under the influence.

In December 2013, 2589 breath tests were administered which resulted in 97 people failing or refusing a test. This was more than the previous year where 85 people refused or failed the breathalyser test.

Of the 97 tests last December, 17 followed a crash. In 2012, this number was 23.

People are reminded that they can still be over the limit the morning after they've been drinking:

“One area of concern that we would like to highlight is the number of people who drive the morning after a night where they have been drinking. Many people will be attending Christmas and New Year parties during December and may have more to drink than usual. What many can underestimate is the effect that this has the following morning and some will get in a car thinking they will be fit to drive when they are in fact, still over the alcohol limit.

Our message is clear, don’t drive under the influence of drink or drugs. It is easy to make alternative arrangements to get home. Don’t ruin your own or other people’s Christmas of by making a decision to drive whilst under the influence, it’s not worth it.”

– Sergeant Roberts, Cumbria Police

Outrageous assault - victim hospitalised

A man has been taken to hospital after being assaulted at a nightclub, Outrageous, in Carlisle.

On Sunday 23rd November at 3.15am police were called to the nightclub on English Street. A 22-year-old man had received serious injuries to his head and face during an alleged assault and was taken to Cumberland Infirmary.

A man, aged 36 from Carlisle, was arrested on suspicion of assault and has been bailed until 19th December 2014 while enquiries continue.

“The victim is recovering from his injuries and we are working to establish the circumstances surrounding this incident. We appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and witnessed what happened to get in touch.”

– DC Gary Taylor, Cumbria Police

Be safe on Black Friday

People are being reminded to be careful when shopping on Black Friday.

In America, Black Friday is the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the US that kick-starts the Christmas season. To celebrate many American stores offer lots of heavily discounted one-day deals, but usually it’s only on one or two big star products.

Read: What is Black Friday?

It's a day which is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.

Police Scotland have issued the following advice:

  • Use cash machines in well lit, non-secluded areas and stay alert.
  • Check the machine hasn't been tampered with, hide your PIN, beware of who is behind you and keep your cash out of view.
  • When you're out Christmas shopping, you might not realise how much all the presents you're carrying are worth - look after your shopping bags and don't leave them out of view.
  • If you're driving to the shops, park your car in a busy, well-lit area.
  • Don't keep any presents you've bought in the car for longer than you have to and always keep them out of view.
  • Ensure your bag in closed and not easily accessible when not being used.

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