Skip to content

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (Commissioner) David Allen, met with Kendal Town Centre Community Beat Officer (CBO) PC Ben Lawson on Wednesday 26 June to hear more about the positive work being done to tackle retail crime and drug supply in the area.

During the Patrol, the Commissioner visited Highgate, Lowther Street, New Road, Wildman Street, Station Road before walking along the river path between Sandes Avenue and Busher Walk to discuss crime concerns within the town centre.

PC Lawson has focussed on encouraging retailers to report shoplifting whilst providing visible patrols in the town centre including store walk-throughs. This has allowed Officers including PC Lawson to disrupt offending and target repeat offenders – no matter the value of the theft. Police have also been working to target organised teams of thieves who commit high value alcohol thefts. So far this year, three separate arrests have been made made which have all resulted in sentences of at least six months imprisonment.

To tackle drug supply, local Officers undertake warrants at the homes of offenders and actively target dealers using stop searches. The Police work with partners such as Housing to challenge those responsible for drug related activity and anti-social behaviour (ASB). Additionally, Officers are now trained to conduct drugs wipes on drivers with the aim to have the whole Neighbourhood Policing Team trained by Autumn 2024.

The value of a dedicated CBO and Neighbourhood Policing Team can be shown clearly; Between 1 June 2023 and 31 May 2024:

  • Shoplifting has reduced by 13.4% in comparison to the same time period the year before with positive outcomes for victims sitting at 34.3%.
  • There were four more drug supply offences recorded in 23/24 compared to 22/23.
  • 343 stop searches conducted for suspicion of drugs by Officers in the Kendal town centre took place in the 23/24 time period compared to the 137 that took place in 22/23. Out of the 343, 110 were found to be carrying drugs.
  • Stop searches for stolen goods also rose in the same time period, with 18 more taking place in comparison to the previous year.

PC Lawson took the Commissioner to Manna House, an organisation that helps the homeless, vulnerably housed, lonely or those needing help in any way at the fringes of society. As CBO, PC Lawson works closely with the works and patrons of Manna House, especially those that have been through the Criminal Justice System, to help reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

Commissioner David Allen said: “During my campaign, the public raised with me their desire to see more officers on the beat. The message I heard, ‘loud and clear’ was that residents and visitors wanted to see more visible policing on our streets. I made this one of my pre-election pledges and I intend to deliver on my pledge to ensure this happens and to increase this.

“Community policing and visibility of policing is a key priority for me as Commissioner as well as a resident of Cumbria so I am always pleased to meet with our current CBOs to see how I can support them in protecting their communities.

“PC Ben Lawson has put in a great amount of effort to help reduce retail crime and drug supply in Kendal Town Centre. It is really positive to see that the work being done by Ben and other officers is significantly reducing these crime types in the area.

“Retail crime and drug supply/trafficking has wider effects on communities, causing fear, putting our retail workers at risk, and in respect of drugs, blighting whole communities – most of us will never be the victim of a major crime but I am sure we all see the effects that shoplifting, and drugs can have on our community.

“My view is very clear - the safety and security of our communities must come first. I know that the Chief Constable, Rob Carden, shares my view in this which is why he created the Constabularies vision, its 4C’s, to deliver an outstanding police service to keep Cumbria Safe. As part of this, my role is to hold the Constabulary to account over crime that is more likely to affect the wider public and the communities they live and work in as well as high-risk crimes.

“I am meeting with other CBOs across the county in the near future and I am looking forward to seeing more about the positive work that they do.”

Inspector Ross Woods, South Lakes Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Part of the role of a Community Beat Officer is to provide that visible, reassuring police presence in their dedicated areas.

“By building trust and confidence within their communities CBOs, like PC Lawson, are able to understand their communities and the issues within them, working with residents, local businesses and partner agencies to address the issues.

“Information we receive from the community is vital to help us build intelligence and take action against any illegal activity in our neighbourhoods.

“If anyone has any information to share, please speak to your local PCSO or Community Beat Officer. You can also report online or via Crimestoppers anonymously”.

If you wish to report to police you can do so online at Report a crime | Cumbria Police. You can also phone on 101. Always phone 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress.