Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been transferred elsewhere or are now defunct, so that its official functions are now largely ceremonial.
Today's duties include attendance at Royal Visits to the county, escorting High Court Judges on circuit in the county.
Whilst the duties of the role have evolved over time supporting the Crown and the judiciary remain central elements of the role today. In addition, High Sheriffs actively lend support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector. In recent years High Sheriffs in many parts of England and Wales have been particularly active in encouraging crime reduction initiatives, especially amongst young people.
Many High Sheriffs also assist Community Foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people both in endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work. The High Sheriff Association adopted DebtCred and Crimebeat in recent years in response to specific areas of need.
The office of High Sheriff is held for one year. A nomination ceremony is held each November in the Royal Courts of Justice. Three names are put forward for the Office of High Sheriff in each county and one of them is selected by the Sovereign at a subsequent meeting of the Privy Council, the appointed name is "pricked with a bodkin".
High Sheriffs receive no remuneration and no part of the expense of a High Sheriff's year falls on the public purse. The Office is independent, non-political and unpaid. High Sheriffs have a particular interest in law and order and pay special attention to the work of such statutory bodies as the Police, the Prison Service and the Probation Service.
For further information about the role and history of the High Sheriff please visit the High Sheriff's Association
The current High Sheriff
The High Sheriff of Cumbria for 2023/24 is Mrs Samantha Scott.
To find out more, visit the High Sheriff of Cumbria website.
The High Sheriff of Cumbria
Matson Ground House