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Cumbria's fight against child exploitation

We turn now to the problem of child sexual exploitation - it's become a major child protection issue across the UK. Hidden from view, vulnerable young girls and boys are groomed and then abused, leaving them traumatised and scarred for life.

In Cumbria, police have received more than 100 reports of children at risk in the last 6 months. Now they're working to raise awareness and encourage parents to recognise the signs. Kate Walby reports.

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Three arrested in Carlisle on suspicion of robbery

Police are currently investigating a robbery and an attempted robbery in Carlisle today.

The offences happened at around 11.20 this morning on Close Street and Grey Street respectively.

Police have arrested three people on suspicion of robbery and they are currently helping officers with their enquiries. Those arrested are:

  • A 28-year-old man from Carlisle.
  • A 26-year-old woman from Workington.
  • A 19-year-old man from Carlisle.

Police were called at 11.20am following the report of a robbery on Close Street. Two men and a woman approached the victim and stole their handbag. The victim suffered minor injuries.

An attempted robbery was reported shortly after on Grey Street, where two men and a woman approached the victim and attempted to steal their handbag. The suspects made off with nothing.

“Detectives are currently making enquiries into these two incidents which we are treating as connected at this time. If you have any information on these two incidents we would like to hear from you. Your information could lead to bringing those responsible to justice.”

– Detective Inspector Craig Smith

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101

Cumbria Police: 'This is a challenging time, but we remain committed'

Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer has issued this statement on behalf of Cumbria Police:

“As the constabulary has previously stated we are currently reviewing a number of areas within Cumbria Constabulary as part of our ongoing need to make financial savings. The Constabulary continues to face major financial challenges and current budget forecasts show that a further £10.8 million needs to be saved by 2018/19.

“One area under review is the Communications Centre, and the possibility of moving to a ‘Command & Control Room’ (CCR) model. This means reviewing front end problem solving and how we deploy officers.

“As a result of this review, staff who work in the Communications Centre are currently involved in a formal consultation regarding proposed changes to how they work.

“It is inappropriate for us to comment in detail on any proposed changes until formal consultation has completed and final decisions have been made. The current proposed option includes new processes and use of a single skill set to achieve first contact resolution; this would be achieved by the application of extended skills, experience and knowledge of criminal law, and police procedures. It is proposed that some of the existing structural silos, such as call handling and the help desk, will be replaced by a single Call Management & Resolution (CMR) function performed by police officers.

“This is being considered because answering calls from the public is a frontline function of policing and experienced police officers have the skills and knowledge to be able to resolve queries immediately to the caller’s satisfaction, or grade the severity of an incident (therefore affecting required response) based on their judgement. Anyone who calls the Constabulary would speak to an officer immediately, without waiting to be transferred or for an officer to arrive on scene. This could reduce demand for an officer to be deployed to some calls, however if an officer is required to attend this would still happen – the safety of people in Cumbria is still our number one priority.

“This proposed change is part of our need to make financial savings – by having a single Call Management & Resolution (CMR) function performed by police officers, who otherwise we would not be able to afford to keep, we can retain and utilise their skills and experience, so that we can change how we resolve calls for service from the public. We appreciate the hard work of all our staff members and difficult decisions affecting our workforce are not made lightly. In an ideal world we would not want to make any staff member redundant, however the Constabulary continues to face major financial challenges. We make every effort to reduce compulsory redundancies by redeploying staff into other roles where we can and consideration of voluntary redundancy.

“Responding to incidents and queries from the public is of the utmost importance to the Constabulary, and we are committed to continuing to provide a high level of service while making the financial savings required of us.

“Following the formal consultation with affected staff, and subject to final decisions being made by chief officers, staffing changes are planned to be implemented by end of September 2015, with full Command and Control working across the Constabulary in April 2016.

“How we effectively manage both emergency and non-emergency calls is of the utmost importance to the Constabulary, and we are dedicated to ensuring that any changes that are made to current processes do not negatively impact on members of the public.

“This is a challenging time, but we remain committed to providing the best possible policing service we can afford for the people of Cumbria.”

– Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer

More than fifty police posts face the axe

Police control room, Carleton Hall Penrith. Credit: ITV Border News

Cumbria Police has confirmed that they are looking at axing 54 jobs in their control room.

It's part of a cost cutting to reduce the police budget by £10.8million.

Cumbria Constabulary say the proposals would see more police officers doing the job of civilians. Staff are currently being consulted about the changes which come into effect in September.

£620,000 for Cumbria's fight against child exploitation

An extra £620,000 has been earmarked to Cumbria's fight against child exploitation.

The county's Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes said he is making the funding available to better protect and identify where support is needed for those at risk.

The funding announcement coincides with National Child Sexual Exploitation day today where advice can be followed via the hashtag #CSECumbria.

“We welcome that more people have the confidence to come forward and report where there may be vulnerable adults and children as well as domestic abuse and we want to encourage people to come forward. The additional funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will help develop the capacity of Cumbria Constabulary.”

– Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes

“The protection of vulnerable people is a key priority for the Constabulary and we welcome the further funding supplied by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

“I would like to take this opportunity to urge anyone who believes that they maybe a victim of crime, abuse or antisocial behaviour to report this to police. Any allegation will be investigated professionally and sensitively.”

– Assistant Chief Constable, Steve Johnson

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Dog killed in Whitehaven hit and run

Credit: Press Association

Police are appealing for information after a dog was killed in a hit and run collision.

The black lurcher was hit by an unknown vehicle on Meadow Road in Whitehaven at some time between 7pm and 7:30pm yesterday (16 March).

After hitting the dog, the vehicle failed to stop.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Cumbria police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

999 calls in West Cumbria back up and running

Police say people in West Cumbria can now call 999 from landlines after a technical problem was fixed by BT.

The fault meant that 3,000 landlines in Workington, Harrington and Cleator Moor were unable to get through on the 999 emergency number.

Cumbria Police say that if you are unable to get through on a landline then you should call 999 using a mobile phone.

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