“Firm but fair” police pledge over Appleby horse fair
POLICE have stated they will be “firm but fair” at next month’s Appleby horse fair, at which extra officers will be drafted in and CCTV coverage increased.
Temporary chief superintendent Rob O’Connor, the police gold commander for the fair, gave the assurances at a pre-fair meeting held in the town. He acknowledged issues were raised as a result of last year’s fair and outlined changes that are being made as a result.
They include an additional 70 officers being deployed to work on phase one of the event, which police class as the “ingress to the fair”.
There will be extra CCTV coverage in both Appleby and Kirkby Stephen, a dedicated police telephone line and the introduction of a protected pedestrian walkway across The Sands.
Mr O’Connor said: “I can assure the public we have been working flat out for the past year to make sure we learn from the experience of previous years.”
New for this year will be a dedicated Appleby fair option available to anyone calling police on the 101 number, with enhanced and consistent staffing on the call handling side. People reporting a non-emergency police matter relating to the fair on 101 will be prompted to “press 5” and report directly to dedicated officers.
Other improvements include more and improved CCTV in Appleby and the installation of four new CCTV cameras in Kirkby Stephen earlier this month. Officers will also be using body-worn video cameras to help capture evidence.
Two sections of the A685 from Kendal to Brough have been specifically identified as areas where stopping will not be tolerated. Public space protection orders will be enforced in areas such as Kirkby Stephen to prevent people from drinking in the street.
On The Sands in Appleby barriers will be put on each side of the pedestrian crossing for the first time to make it safer. This will mean horse-drawn vehicles will be unable to cross into the town centre at this point and be diverted, along with vehicles, via Garth Heads Road.
Similar reassurances were given this week by Cumbria Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, who was asked to provide an update on plans by police and crime commissioner Peter McCall.
Mrs Skeer said that this year the senior policeman in charge will be the constabulary’s second highest-ranking officer — Mark Webster, the newly-appointed deputy chief constable and a former firearms commander for the National Crime Agency.
Community action group meetings are being held in the lead-up to the fair to give people the opportunity to discuss any issues. A police community support officer will be available along with a local member of the town/parish council at the different locations.
Meetings will be held from 28th May at Kirkby Stephen police station, 10am to 11am daily, up to and including Wednesday, 5th June; Appleby police station, 10am to 11am daily, up to and including Wednesday, 5th June; Alston Market Square, 10am to 11am daily, up to and including Wednesday, 5th June; Brough, outside Swanson House, Main Street, 10am to 11am, 28th May, 30th May, 1st June, 3rd June, 5th June; Warcop play park, 12pm to 1pm, 28th May, 31st May, 3rd June; Soulby village green, 12pm to 1pm, 29th May, 1st June, 4th June; Great Asby, outside the Three Greyhounds pub, 12pm to 1pm, 30th May, 2nd June, 5th June.