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Multi-tasking firearms officers faced with extra jobs


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Cumbria armed officer are already expected to chip in and help police the area's roads among other role


Firearms officers who already cover roads policing and public order work could have their responsibilities expanded further despite the national terror threat.

Cumbria Police and Crime Panel (PCP) has raised concerns about the number of specialist officers who attended the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester last year and how much it is costing the force in overtime pay.

A “broader capability of armed trained officers for lower levels of response”, is being considered for the future, PCP documents stated.

In November Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall told Police Oracle the force’s overtime bill for extra patrols in response to the increased terror threat was an estimated £300k, but said cutting officer numbers would be an “absolute last resort” despite an overall £925,000 deficit.

Cumbria firearms unit is the cheapest in the country, the documents said, as armed response officers are “multi-skilled”, performing a dual role in roads policing plus public order.

Chairman of Cumbria Constabulary Federation Martin Plummer told Police Oracle: “Cumbria in relation to officer numbers is a small force, we don’t have the luxury of significant officer.

“We have to rely on a number of officers being multi skilled and responding to incidents as they occur. Our officers do this extremely well.

“There are always pros and cons of sending officers on mutual aid attachments out of force, abstractions to cope with in force, the increased workloads of colleagues remaining in Cumbria, reduction of that particular skill set in the force should we have an incident of our own and significant cost implications not to mention the effect on those officers work life balance and working long hours so welfare issues to consider.

“It is of course essential that Cumbrian officers provide mutual aid to help their colleagues in any force when needed due to a major incident of this type occurring.”

But he added: “It is a balancing act trying to fund everyday policing to the communities of Cumbria let alone finding significant funds to provide mutual aid functions out of force.”

Police Oracle has contacted Mr McCall’s office for clarity about what extra duties firearms officers may be expected to take on. 

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