Posted on 15:25:00 on 15th May 2019
More resources – including an increase in officer numbers - are in place ahead of the 2019 Appleby Horse Fair, the Police Gold Commander for the Fair has assured the public.
Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor spoke at a public meeting in Appleby last week (8 May) where he outlined many of the changes which have been made following feedback received from the public after the 2018 Appleby Horse Fair.
T/Ch Supt O’Connor said: “Last year the police did receive criticism relating to what we refer to as ‘Phase One’ – the ingress to the Fair.
“The criticism specifically related to how we policed the Kirkby Lonsdale, Sedbergh and Kirkby Stephen areas in the weeks and days prior to the Fair.
“Following that criticism I have attended meetings in all of these areas to listen to concerns. I can assure the public the comments people made have been heard and have greatly impacted the way we are planning and resourcing ahead of this year’s Fair.”
Following the 2018 Fair a review was ordered by the Police and Crime Commissioner which resulted in eight suggested adjustments:
1. Promote wider advertisement of engagement meetings
2. Increase formal dedicated engagement opportunities prior to and during the Fair
3. Increase wider statutory representation at engagement events
4. Consistent Bronze commanders and staffing during phase 1
5. Increase supervision and clearer direction for phase1
6. Review Resourcing model based on previous years and incoming Intelligence.
7. Enhanced staffing levels for 101 call-taking during Fair period.
8. Nominated Chief Officer overseeing Appleby Fair Operation.
Work has been undertaken to ensure all of these adjustments are met. Engagement meetings (such as the one held in Appleby last week) and Community Action Group meetings are being held regularly in the run-up to the Fair.
The number of officers deployed to Phase One has increased with around 70 officers now dedicated to this – some of whom have already begun their Phase One deployment.
To give people greater confidence in reporting non-emergency incidents and information to the police, a dedicated Appleby Fair option is now available to anyone ringing 101, with enhanced and consistent staffing on the call handling side. People ringing to report a non-emergency police matter relating to the Fair on 101 will be prompted to “press 5” and report directly to dedicated officers.
Deputy Chief Constable Mark Webster has been nominated as the Chief Officer overseeing the policing of the Fair.
Other improvements in place ahead of the 2019 Fair 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 to help capture evidence.
On the A685, two sections of the road 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.
T/Ch Supt 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.
“We have significantly uplifted our staffing numbers leading up to the Fair and have tackled the most common concerns raised to us, such as 101 reporting, the A685 and CCTV coverage.
“Myself and all of my officers are looking forward to the Fair and working to make it an enjoyable event for everyone."