Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie delivered on a promise to take to the beat with local police, to see for himself the issues facing people living and working in the town centre.
Following a public meeting held at the Beacon Museum, Whitehaven, residents raised concerns about drunken and violent behaviour on Friday and Saturday nights.
As part of the Mayor’s direct approach to see the sharp end of service delivery, he joined the Saturday night patrol. From hearing from several officers about the anti-social behaviours they have to deal with to helping search for stolen property following a robbery of a handbag in the Bransty area of Whitehaven, the Mayor got first-hand experience of what officers are facing everyday on the streets of Copeland’s towns.
The Mayor said: “I was very concerned about the issues residents raised and I promised I would come out and see for myself the anti-social behaviours people were suffering. I wanted to know what our police have to deal with on the streets of Whitehaven at the weekends – and I certainly found out this weekend.
“I was shocked at the scale and work load of the patrol over the shift, and amazed at the officers abilities to maximise the very limited resources they have at their disposal.
“I was also made aware of how drugs and alcohol are the root causes of most disturbances in the town centre at night.
“I am very grateful to Inspector Gary Hunter who allowed me to join the patrol on Saturday night in Whitehaven, and Inspector Mark Weir who set up the visit which has given me the opportunity to be the eyes and ears of the council. I will be feeding back my personal findings to council members at our next meeting.
“I was very impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the police officers I met and accompanied on Saturday evening. The weather was absolutely appalling however I could see that whatever the conditions our police carry out their duties with diligence.
“I will be writing to the Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes outlining the detail of my visit and the issues that were raised. I have a regular quarterly meeting with him and policing in Copeland is the main topic of our discussions.
“I can promise that I will demand more resources for our police in Copeland at any opportunity I have. The key findings for me are we need a strong police presence in Copeland and we need more police resources.”