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Sister papers take fight to stop £26m police cuts to Westminster

A newspaper group has taken its fight to save vital police services in the region it serves to Downing Street.

Five sister newspapers from Cumbria’s CN Group have handed over a 12,000 name petition to Number 10, just two weeks after their Fight The Cuts campaign was launched.

As reported on HTFP last month, The Cumberland News, News & Star, North West Evening Mail, Workington Times & Star and The Whitehaven News joined forced to urge Home Secretary Theresa May to rethink planned cuts of £26m to Cumbria’s police service.

On Wednesday Evening Mail editor James Higgins, pictured below outside the Houses of Parliament, and chief reporter Suzanne Murphy were joined by News & Star crime reporter Nick Griffiths and photographer Stuart Walker to travel to Westminster.

James Higgins Westminster

They presented the petition to Downing Street, after being joined by Cumbrian MPs and Police Federation representatives.

A consultation into the proposed cuts closed on Friday.

Said James: “As a local news organisation, it is our job to fight for what is right – and to make a stand when our community needs us.

“The funding formula which could see our county’s police force reduced in numbers by up to half in the next decade is fundamentally flawed. There is a real risk to the police service as we know it in Cumbria.

“The Evening Mail, its sister titles and thousands of residents of Cumbria have taken a stand. Our views are clear. The proposed cuts are not acceptable – and no amount of Whitehall spin will convince us otherwise.

“We now await with interest the views of government – 12,000 voices cannot be ignored.”

The campaign 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.