Loraine Birchall, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner election, has launched her campaign. Loraine will be fighting for a fair funding formula for rural police forces, and collected signatures in Kendal to back her campaign.
A key issue for Loraine will be her campaign for a fair funding deal for rural police forces. Changes to the police funding formula are expected to be brought back later this year, having initially been postponed following a number of high profile errors in the government’s figures in November 2015. Under the original proposals, rural forces were due to lose out on significant amounts of funding compared to urban ones, due to the criteria used.
Loraine has lived in Cumbria for 40 years, and has a teenage son. She has an in-depth understanding of the local police, as her father, brother and former husband have all served as special constables for Cumbria Police. Prior to her current work as a web developer and management consultant, Loraine worked at BAE Systems in Barrow, and she also serves as a tenant board member for South Lakes Housing – the largest housing association in South Lakeland.
Loraine’s priorities for the police include improving safety for women including taking domestic violence more seriously, tackling crimes against small businesses and ensuring a visible policing presence on our streets. Loraine also wants to address the growing problem of cyber-crime.
Loraine commented: “As Police and Crime Commissioner, my priority would be to keep our communities safe. I want to restore the trust of Cumbrians in our Police Service, but to do that we need to have the resources to keep our county safe.
“The government last year decided to postpone the funding formula changes which would have drastically reduced Cumbria Police’s funding. However, these changes are still on the cards. I will be campaigning to ensure that rural areas like Cumbria are given a fair funding deal. The criteria used must recognise the challenges involved in policing large rural areas. It was clear from talking to residents today and collecting signatures for my petition that they too feel strongly about this.”
South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: “Loraine would make a fantastic Police and Crime Commissioner. She is knowledgeable about policing and understands the challenges facing the force, but more importantly she cares deeply about Cumbria. I’m backing Loraine.”