Mental health issues stretch Cumbria Police

Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall
Image caption Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said the force was planning to recruit more officers

Officers in one force spend less than half of their time fighting crime, a police chief said.

Cumbria Police's crime commissioner, Peter McCall, said 60% of his officers' time was spent on "non-crime issues".

He said they were increasingly the last resort for people with mental health issues, dementia, Alzheimer's or runaways from the care system.

"When everything else has failed, people call the police," he told an Eden Local Committee meeting.

Mr McCall said the demand on the force had "increased dramatically" although there had not been a cut in officer numbers.

He said the force expected to have 1,165 officers this year, up from 1,120 when he took over in 2016.

Last year, 25 new officers were recruited and there are plans for 20 more, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Mr McCall said: "In the last 10 years, it's no secret that police funding has suffered and many forces have seen a reduction in officer numbers but not here in Cumbria."

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