More police and CCTV promised for 2019 Appleby Horse Fair

More resources – including more police officers – have been put in place for this year’s Appleby Horse Fair, the public has been assured.

Cumbria Police temporary chief superintendent Rob O’Connor explained some of the changes made to plans to police this year’s event (6 to 12 June) after feedback was received from the public on the 2018 fair.

“Last year the police received criticism relating to what we refer to as ‘phase one’ – the ingress to the fair,” he said.

“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 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.”

After the 2018 event, at which a number of concerns were raised by locals, the Cumbria police and crime commissioner ordered a review, which suggested “adjustments” for 2019.

These include more “engagement opportunities” before and during the fair and consistent levels of command and staffing during phase one, during which more officers will be dedicated to the fair. Some staff have already started their phase one deployment.

A “chief officer” has been nominated to oversee all Appleby Fair policing, while there will be more staff taking calls on  the 101 line during the fair period, and a dedicated option for people calling to report non-emergency police issues relating to Appleby.

Other improvements include “more and improved CCTV in Appleby” and the installation of four new CCTV cameras in Kirkby Stephen this month. Officers will also be using body video cameras to help collect evidence.

Two sections of the A685 have been identified as areas in which stopping will not be allowed, and public space protection orders will be enforced in certain areas to prevent drinking in the street.

“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,” Mr O’Connor said.

“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.

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“Myself and all of my officers are looking forward to the fair and working to make it an enjoyable event for everyone.”

Appleby Horse Fair is an annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in Appleby, Cumbria.

At last year’s fair, the RSPCA said it counted 1,200 caravans, as well as what officers thought to be a greater number of horses than in previous years, and issued 198 people with animal welfare advice.

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