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County MP's in meeting with Crime Commissioner PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Friday, 26 February 2021

county mps virtual.pngConservative MPs from across Cumbria have been involved in a virtual meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cumbria, Peter McCall.

The meeting covered issues relating to police presence in the county, support for the victims of crime and the Commissioner’s six-point plan to fight crime and assist communities across Cumbria.

Dr Neil Hudson (Penrith and the Border) said afterwards: “It was good to meet with the PCC and my Cumbrian MP colleagues to discuss important policing and security matters for our county.

“It was a chance to further discuss the important issue of rural crime, including animal theft and farm machinery theft, something that is so important that we work together to address.

“Rural crime is the scourge of the countryside and of concern to many of my constituents. I raised the issue with the Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse MP, last year:

“Improving the effectiveness of the police in Cumbria and stamping out criminal behaviour can only be achieved with a sufficient level of officers on the ground. I am therefore encouraged that the government continues to make progress on achieving its target to 20,000 new police officers nationwide by 2023.

“Cumbria Police now has the highest recorded number of officers with over 60 more due to be recruited in the coming year.”

Afterwards Peter McCall said: “I was pleased I was able to speak with MPs from around the county. We are well served by the police in Cumbria and I was reassured that they share that view from their constituency perspectives.  

“It is always useful to hear the issues  that they have had as regards police and crime within their constituencies and also to hear of the individual experiences of a number of their constituents and importantly to work collectively with them to deal with and resolve any issues they raise.”

Meanwhile the Penrith MP confirmed that in a Prime Minister’s Questions session earlier this week he asked Boris Johnson what his government is doing to address rural not-spots in Cumbria, with some areas receiving little to no broadband and phone signal.

Dr Hudson asked: “Penrith and The Border struggles with poor broadband and phone signal connectivity, with download speeds around 56% of the UK average. Many of my constituents have been quoted large and unfeasible sums for new cables to be installed, which is often their only option to improve coverage.

“I welcome the potential of  the Shared Rural Network, the Gigabit voucher scheme and the Universal Service Obligation to help, but what reassurance can my RHF give my constituents that Government is striving to address these broadband and phone signal not-spots in rural Cumbria?”

The Prime Minister responded: “I thank my Honourable Friend for all he does to campaign for the hard to reach areas in rural Cumbria. I know that we are doing all we can as I raise it virtually every day and we are rolling out as fast as we can.

“We have committed about £5bn to connect those areas, £1bn for the Shared Rural Network agreement and a voucher scheme to target predominantly rural areas but we are intending to get everything we can possibly get done in the next five years.”

Reflecting on the PM’s reply, Dr Hudson said: “It is clear from the Prime Minister’s response that rolling out broadband and phone signal capability is high on the government’s levelling up agenda, with significant amounts of government funds being put towards improvements.

“As part of my ‘Better Connectivity’ campaign I am determined that this government funding reaches the rural parts of Penrith and The Border which are yet to reap the benefits enjoyed by other parts of the country.

“Decent digital connectivity, which has become so integral to our work, study and social lives, even more so in the pandemic, is a fundamental necessity and not a luxury. I will keep raising this with the Government and I am really pleased that the very top of Government is so receptive.”

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