The Cumbria Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, David Allen, recently visited Kendal Town Centre to acknowledge the progress made in combating retail crime and drug supply in the area.

On Wednesday, June 26, the commissioner met with community beat officer (CBO) PC Ben Lawson to understand better the efforts implemented to tackle these activities in the town.

Mr Allen visited various parts of the town centre, including Highgate, Lowther Street, New Road, Wildman Street, Station Road, Sandes Avenue, and Busher Walk.

Mr Lawson has been proactive in encouraging retailers to report instances of shoplifting, and has also maintained visible patrols throughout the town centre.

Regular walk-throughs in stores enable officers to disrupt activities of shoplifters and target frequent offenders, regardless of the theft's value.

The police have seen success in addressing high-value alcohol thefts by organised groups, with three arrests this year leading to at least six months' imprisonment each.

Efforts to curb drug supply in the town include conducting warrants at offenders' residences and implementing stop searches for dealers.

The police have collaborated with partners to identify and challenge those responsible for drug-related activities and anti-social behaviour.

Special officer training has been initiated to conduct drug wipes on drivers, intending to have all officers in the Neighbourhood Policing Team trained by autumn 2024.

As a result of new measures, between June 1 2023 and May 31 2024, shoplifting instances compared to the same time period the year before have reduced by 13.4 per cent.

The rate of "positive outcomes" for victims sits at 34.3 per cent.

Increased actions have yielded four more recorded offences against drug suppliers compared to the previous year.

A substantial increase in stop searches for suspected drug possessions has been executed in Kendal town centre: in comparison to 137 in the previous year, there were 343 cases this year, in 110 of which individuals were found to be possessing drugs.

Mr Lawson took the commissioner to Manna House, an organisation dedicated to helping the homeless and those on the fringe of society - including former convicts at risk of reoffending.

Mr Allen said: "During my campaign, the public raised with me their desire to see more officers on the beat.

"The message I heard, ‘loud and clear,’ was that residents and visitors wanted to see more visible policing on our streets.

"I made this one of my pre-election pledges and I intend to deliver on my pledge to ensure this happens.

“Community policing and visibility of policing is a key priority for me as commissioner as well as a resident of Cumbria so I am always pleased to meet with our current CBOs to see how I can support them in protecting their communities.

“PC Ben Lawson has put in a great amount of effort to help reduce retail crime and drug supply in Kendal Town Centre. It is really positive to see that the work being done by Ben and other officers is significantly reducing these crime types in the area.

“Retail crime and drug supply/trafficking has wider effects on communities, causing fear, putting our retail workers at risk, and in respect of drugs, blighting whole communities – most of us will never be the victim of a major crime but I am sure we all see the effects that shoplifting and drugs can have on our community.

“My view is very clear - the safety and security of our communities must come first. I know that the Chief Constable, Rob Carden, shares my view in this which is why he created the Constabularies vision, its 4C’s, to deliver an outstanding police service to keep Cumbria Safe. As part of this, my role is to hold the Constabulary to account over crime that is more likely to affect the wider public and the communities they live and work in as well as high-risk crimes.

“I am meeting with other CBOs across the county in the near future and I am looking forward to seeing more about the positive work that they do.”

Inspector Ross Woods of the South Lakes Neighbourhood Policing Team commended the role of CBOs like Mr Lawson in providing visible and reassuring police presence in their dedicated areas.

He added: “Information we receive from the community is vital to help us build intelligence and take action against any illegal activity in our neighbourhoods.

“If anyone has any information to share, please speak to your local PCSO or Community Beat Officer. You can also report online or via Crimestoppers anonymously."

You can report any crime to the police online at, or phone on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress.