Elected PCC will make more cuts in Cumbria

Richard Rhodes
Image caption Richard Rhodes chairs Cumbria Probation Trust

The first Cumbria police and crime commissioner will have to find £6.4m savings to its force.

Conservative candidate Richard Rhodes has said he will look at the alignment of senior posts, while Labour candidate Patrick Leonard said the "elastic band is stretched".

Independent candidate Mary Robinson said she would re-evaluate the amount of policing used at events to help find savings.

Liberal Democrat candidate Pru Jupe thought crime brought by visitors to the county should not be paid for by Cumbria taxpayers.

Voting to elect Cumbria's PCC will take place on 15 November.

PCCs, as they will be known, will be responsible for setting priorities for their police force, overseeing its budget and hiring the chief constable.

Image caption Mary Robinson is deputy leader of Eden District Council

Although some candidates have a political allegiance, they will be required to pledge an oath to represent "all sections of the public without fear or favour".

Rural and urban

By area, Cumbria is the second largest county in England but, in terms of its population of about 495,000, it is relatively small.

Cumbria's population is scattered across a huge rural area and the force has to spread its resources thinly to cover it.

Cumbria Constabulary will cut £19m by 2015. It has already shut some police stations and lost more than 100 officers.

Richard Moss, BBC Political Editor for the North East & Cumbria, said the challenge for the elected PCC in Cumbria will be balancing the needs of rural areas with the temptation to appeal to voters in the main towns.

Image caption Patrick Leonard is a former chief executive of Allerdale District Council

Mr Rhodes was a head teacher for 22 years and a magistrate for more than 30.

To help tackle rural crime, he told BBC Radio Cumbria that, if elected, he may introduce the idea of parish constables who would live in the area and have the power to arrest.

Ms Robinson is a district and county councillor and chairwoman of the Carlisle and Eden Crime Reduction Partnership.

She said she would work closer with the National Farmers' Union as well as treat rural and urban crime fairly.

'Feel safe'

Image caption Pru Jupe is a parish and district councillor

Pru Jupe is a barrister and South Lakeland councillor.

She said anti-social behaviour was the main issue and said "the issue is that people don't always feel safe" even though she said crimes numbers had reduced.

Mr Leonard is the director of a housing association in Cumbria and was chief executive of Allerdale District Council.

In his election statement, he said the cuts to the force are a "huge blow to a small force covering a big area" and he would "fight these cuts and do what I can to protect our police service".

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