More support is to be given to victims of crime in Cumbria.
The county's Police and Crime Commissioner will unveil the 'Cumbria Victims Charitable Trust' this morning.
It will provide extra funding to help those affected by crime and is one of a series of victim-focused announcements by Richard Rhodes this week.
He has also declared he will be awarding around £4,000 to the Coroners Court Support Services to provide support for bereaved families and witnesses.
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.”
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.”
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: email@example.com 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.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner has joined with Barnardo’s, Cumbria Constabulary, and Cumbria County Council to explore why children go missing from home and what can be done to support them.
Barnardo’s will lead research into why children leave home and what more can be done to support them before, and the Police and Crime Commissioner will help fund the project.
In 2014, over 600 children went missing from home in Cumbria and Richard Rhodes says he understands the distress this causes for those involved.
"A child missing from home for any period of time is distressing for all.
“I am pleased to be match funding the proposal by Barnardo’s to undertake this project which looks at the reasons children and young people go missing, and what can be done to support them.”
Almost 400 complaints have been made against Cumbria police between November 2012 and November 2013.
A new report due before the Police and Crime Commissioner later today found a 32 per cent rise on last year's figures with the most common allegations being of unprofessional conduct.
Almost 400 complaints have been made against Cumbria Police between 2012/13.
The number of allegations increased of nearly 32 per cent between November 2012 and the same month last year.
A new report due before Cumbria Police and the executive board of the Crime Commissioner tomorrow found 397 complaints were made compared with 302 over the same period in 2011/12.
The figures show 50 complaints were made in March, followed by 43 in July and 36 in June and August.
The most common type of allegations were unprofessional conduct and oppressive behaviour.
Two allegations of discriminatory behaviour, involving racism towards offenders on arrest, by the police were also recorded. One was not upheld while the other is still under investigation.
It is exactly a year since Cumbria's first Police & Crime Commissioner took up his role, and in an interview for ITV Border tonight he speaks candidly about some of the difficulties he has faced.
Richard Rhodes' time in office has to some extent been overshadowed by a row over his expenses after he claimed seven hundred pounds for chauffeur driven work trips.
The year has also seen the lengthy suspension of the former temporary chief constable, Stuart Hyde. Mr. Hyde was subsequently cleared of misconduct but left the force today for his retirement.
Reflecting on his first year in the job, Richard Rhodes told Ryan Dollard it has not been an easy one:
One of Cumbria's MPs says questions should be asked about why the county's police force spent so much time and money investigating a whistle-blowing case - only for it to end with no charges being brought.
The 6 month investigation followed the leaking of information about the Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes's expenses.
However, MP Tim Farron says the decision not to prosecute vindicates his view that these were whistleblowers and not criminals.
Tim Backshall reports.
The MP for South Lakes, Tim Farron, has commented on the news that no one will be prosecuted after a six-month long police investigation into a whistle-blower who leaked a crime commissioner's expenses claims for chauffeur-driven cars.
"I welcome the news that the final person who remained under investigation over the Richard Rhodes leaked documents case has been released without charge.
"This is good news and vindicates what I and others have been saying for months - that these people are whistleblowers and not criminals."
“The Police have spent a huge amount of money and time on this investigation while disrupting the lives and careers of a number of people by these arrests.
"Given that people in Cumbria sometimes feel let down by the way the Police allocate resources, questions should be asked about why the Force spent so much time and resources on a case that affected the constabulary itself when we have finished with no action being taken.”
Police in Cumbria have released the following statement in relation to news that a woman who works for Cumbria Police, will not face criminal action over an alleged leak about the expenses of Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes.
"The criminal investigation by Cumbria Constabulary, launched after police received concerns that information was leaked to the media relating to the Police and Crime Commissioner, is now complete.
"A 50 year old woman, an employee of Cumbria Constabulary, arrested on suspicion of data protection offences and misconduct in a public office on 10 April 2013, will face no criminal action.
"A misconduct investigation will now commence in relation to any internal breach of the Code of Conduct. She remains suspended from work.
"Cumbria Constabulary’s staff and police officers have a duty to protect and manage the information they have privileged access to.
"Any allegations relating to a breach of this position need to be investigated to ensure our communities can have trust and confidence in the way we deliver policing in the county."