Deputy PFCC meetings with Cleator Moor’s Community Beat Officer
Cumbria’s Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (DPFCC), Mike Johnson, met with Cleator Moor’s Community Beat Officer (CBO), PC Sarah Pickering-Smith, to hear more about the positive work of the Police in the community.
Since PC Pickering-Smith took on the role of CBO for the area in Summer 2022, she has been working with the community to combat local crime concerns including anti-social behaviour (ASB) and parking issues around the local schools. The DPFCC went out on patrol with PC Pickering-Smith to visit the areas where the ASB and other low-level crimes have taken place.
During their patrol, they visited Cleator Moor Square and Jacktrees Playpark where large groups of youths had been loitering and causing ASB, throwing food at vehicles and knocking on doors and running away. PC Pickering-Smith and Officers were able to identify the main offenders placing them on Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC) which is a voluntary written agreement between a young person and the local authority and police. Under the ABC, the young person agrees not to be involved with certain specified anti-social acts. Some of the young people were also referred to Youth Offending and Officers have used Dispersal Orders at key times of disruption. High visibility foot patrols were also put in place to discourage ASB and stop-searches took place for fireworks. PC Pickering-Smith has also attended local schools and youth groups to talk to young people about ASB and the effect it has on communities. Police have also worked with local partners to get the lighting in the Square fixed and getting The Mosquito turned on, a machine that is used to deter youths from loitering by emitting a high frequency that older members of the public cannot hear.
PC Pickering-Smith and other members of the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) also deal regularly with parking issues around schools causing traffic disruption.
Speaking on the visit, DPFCC Mike Johnson, said: “One of the key messages we get in the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is the desire to see more officers on the streets patrolling. The introduction of CBO’s provides a named Officer for each area of Cumbria to help with any concerns raised by residents.
“PC Pickering-Smith has been the Community Beat Officer in Cleator Moor since Summer 2022 and in that time, ASB has dropped by 41.6% between 1st September 2022 and 31st August 2023 in comparison to the same period the year before.
“Having dedicated officers deployed from local areas, can only be a good thing. Most of us will not be a victim of a serious crime but many of us will see or feel intimidated by ASB. Becoming a victim of ASB can be an extremely distressing and upsetting experience. If left unchecked, it can ruin people’s lives and devastate communities which is why I am determined to see Police and partners working together to combat ASB before it can develop.
“This is why it is vital, that our Community Beat Officers establish relationships, build trust with local residents and the wider community, so that we can all help in fighting crime together and keeping our communities free of crime.
“Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable, and the Police take all reports seriously. If you ever experience or witness ASB, please report online via www.cumbria.police.uk or call 999 in an emergency.”
Whitehaven Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector, Richard Smillie, said: “We have seen success in the introduction of the Community Beat Officer (CBO) not just in our area but across Cumbria.
“Although our communities have CBO Sarah Pickering-Smith to raise concerns with she will also be supported in her role by the wider Neighbourhood Policing Team.
“In her dedicated role CBO Pickering-Smith will be able to gain understanding of the issues in the Cleator Moor area and with support from CBOs and PCSOs from across the area they will work together with our partners to understand and address any issues across the local area.”