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Five sister newspapers launch campaign against police cuts

Five sister newspapers have united to fight planned policing cuts of £26m on their patches.

CN Group titles The Cumberland News, News & Star, North West Evening Mail, Workington Times & Star and The Whitehaven News have joined forced to launch their Fight The Cuts campaign, after fears the cuts could “decimate” Cumbria’s police service.

The digital campaign, which urges Home Secretary Theresa May to look again at funding proposals, was backed up by front pages calling for readers to make their voices heard.

More than 3,000 readers had signed a petition set up by the newspapers’ editors within 24 hours of the campaign’s launch.

The front page of Thursday's News & Star, when the campaign was launched

The front page of Thursday’s News & Star, when the campaign was launched

It began after Cumbria’s chief constable Jerry Graham spelled out his fears about exactly what the cuts would mean, including the loss of traditional bobbies on the beat, community police teams, dog and road units.

Mr Graham said his force would be reduced to a ‘blue light’ emergency service, only there to pick up the pieces after incidents.

The campaign is set to run until at least 30 October when consultation on the proposed cuts closes.

Senior police officers, the county’s police and crime commissioner and MPs have all signed up.

David Helliwell, editor of the Carlisle-based News & Star, said: “While we all campaign for our local communities as individual newspapers, it’s rare that there’s one issue all titles can get behind.

“This is one such occasion when our readers seem to be speaking with the same voice. We’ve had people sign up from all parts of the circulation areas and further afield.

“Our aim is to make as much noise as possible and show those making these preposterous decisions that Cumbria isn’t going to just meekly accept them.”

The front page of Thursday's Evening Mail, when the campaign was launched

The front page of Thursday’s Evening Mail, when the campaign was launched