Lancaster and Morecambe now has a new chief inspector who says modern policing presents new challenges.
Ch Insp Ian Cooper, 48, who has been a serving police officer for 16 years, says that dealing with the m ost vulnerable people is a priority but protecting the rest of the community with fewer resources is difficult.
He said: “Since austerity began four or five years ago, we have saved £75m and now have 800 fewer police officers and 400 fewer police staff. Its protecting the frontline within that. It does present a challenge. It’s very early days but its time to make changes.
“My role as a chief inspector means I look after response policing, neighbourhood policing and crime investigation.
“It’s understanding the local community and having police officers who are passionate about the area.”
One scheme which Ian has been involved in over Christmas is called Home Safe, which is being run in partnership with the traditional Pubwatch scheme.
Ian said: “It’s a partnership idea to keep people safe on a night out. The message is come out and have a great time but we want you to get home safely. The second part involves the street pastor scheme that helps the vulnerable and looks to intervene. There are a couple of places to take people to sober up.”
Recently, Morecambe Area Police have been very successful with posts tothe Facebook social networking site and Ian is looking at developing that.
He said: “We would encourage people to follow us on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a great way of engaging with the public.
“We are looking at doing more question and answer sessions online and more of those are planned for next year.
“However, we still need to look at traditional methods of policing and getting to know the community. A lot of 999 calls deal with crisis – it’s working with partner organisations to decrease that demand, it’s about early intervention.
“We always have operations going on, the Christmas drink drive campaign and a rural crime operation with Cumbria police. Drugs is a constant topic but we have had some real successes in Morecambe. The people of Morecambe don’t want these drug dealers. We can solve issues with our partners and the community.”