Former Carlisle MP says force should move back to central location

Eric Martlew
Eric Martlew

Carlisle's former MP has called for police to step up their city centre police presence after officers quit their base at the Civic Centre.

Eric Martlew says he has both witnessed and been told of problems with youth antisocial behaviour, adding the lack of a station is fuelling this.

Mr Martlew was MP when the force's Rickergate base was flooded in 2005.

In the aftermath police had temporary bases in the city centre - before opening their main station at the Durranhill industrial estate.

They also opened a base at the Civic Centre, with officers working from the offices and high-visibility cars and vans outside.

This came to an end when budget cuts meant the force pulled the plug on this set-up in October 2015.

When Durranhill opened the police authority - which at the time governed the force - pledged there would be a city centre base.

Now, though, Mr Martlew says the lack of a station, compete with vans and cars outside, means there is "a much reduced police presence in the centre of the city".

He said there was a problem with teenagers causing problems as they hung around the city centre, adding: "I was at a Labour party meeting last month where youngsters twice barged into the meeting,

"It was at The Old Town Hall. A lady had to call the police."

He added: "The people around that area are having to put up with anti-social behaviour."

He said there were stations in the centre of small towns - but none in the middle of Carlisle.

"I knew that if they moved out of the city centre there would be a problem," he said.

"They should bring back the city centre presence.

"It's not good enough to be at Durranhill. The city centre presence was a deterrent for anti-social behaviour."

On the force's website, the force lists youth anti-social behaviour as the priority for residents in this patch.

Mr Martlew said the interruption at the meeting was "just an example of what is going on".

"These are the consequences of it," he said.

A police spokesman said: "When the police station opened at Durranhill in 2009 we maintained a city centre base within the city council building at Rickergate.

"The budget challenges that followed are well documented and as a result of having to make savings, the constabulary subsequently took the decision to close the city centre base, with officers continuing to provide policing services to the city from Durranhill.

"Policing the city centre is an important part of our policing service and we continue to deploy police officers and police community support officers to that area everyday."

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