In the latest report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), Cleveland Police were rated as 'inadequate' for all three areas assessed during the PEEL process: efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy.
The report was published on Friday 27th September 2019 and can be assessed from the HMICFRS website at the link below:
Please note: HMICFRS assess the performance of police forces and do not have remit to assess the performance of Police and Crime Commissioners and their offices.
The Commissioner's response to the HMICFRS report
Read the press release issued by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Read the PCC's full statement regarding the HMICFRS inspection of Cleveland Police
Response to the report
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) shares the public’s concern at the worrying contents of this report, in particular the failure of Cleveland Police to consistently protect the most vulnerable people in our communities. This is completely unacceptable. The PCC is directly elected as the public’s representative for policing and victims and the Force’s recent performance is simply not good enough.
The PCC has sought assurance from Richard Lewis that immediate changes are being made to resolve the most serious issues highlighted in the report and he has informed him that swift action was taken as soon as he became aware of the failings. The public will have begun to see a difference over the summer as the Force rolled out Operation Phoenix to concentrate on priority aspects of policing.
Scrutiny by the OPCC, early indications from HMICFRS and the observations of the Chief Constable all identified significant failings within the Force earlier this year. In response, the PCC issued a Strategic Direction in June, requesting that the Chief Constable assesses the state of the Force and draws up an action plan for areas that need improvement.
The Strategic Direction issued to the Chief Constable in June can be found at the following link:
What is a strategic direction?
A strategic direction is a formal request issued by the PCC demanding action from the Chief Constable on a particular subject. Mr Coppinger would only issue a formal direction when it is in the public interest to do so. This has only been on one other occasion: in 2015, to address problems in the Force around equality, diversity and inclusion - the result was the Everyone Matters programme.
Following on my Strategic Direction, the PCC has already started to deepen and amplify his scrutiny programme, requesting evidence to back up the Force’s claims and questioning any gaps or information they are unable to provide. We expect open, honest and candid responses to scrutiny of the Force and the PCC will ensure that we really know how the Force is performing.
Cuts to police funding
The PCC has campaigned long and hard against the funding cuts imposed on policing and other public services in Cleveland. However, the report recognises that the Force has not effectively managed their increased levels of demand with reduced resources. The public expect the Chief Constable to use whatever resources he has to keep them as safe as possible.
Operation Phoenix has demonstrated that Cleveland Police can offer a better service to people in Cleveland and has had success in in closing down drug suppliers, arresting criminals wanted on warrants and protecting vulnerable people. With additional funding, I’m confident that the service provided during Phoenix could be sustained.
Scrutiny and accountability
HMICFRS have identified Cleveland Police as an 'engaged' police force in their Police Performance Oversight Group (PPOG) to ensure that immediate improvements are made to the service the Force provides. This involves regular meetings between Mr Coppinger, Chief Constable Lewis and Chief Inspector Sir Tom Winsor.
Earlier this year, the PCC and his team became aware that Cleveland Police were not providing sufficient information to allow them to effectively scrutinise their performance. This was confirmed in the HMICFRS report, which indicates that the Chief Constable was also provided with incomplete information.
As a result, the PCC has deepened and amplified his scrutiny process to take a more evidence-based approach to examining the Force's performance and will take a more robust stance with them when assurances cannot be made. As set out in the Strategic Direction, the PCC expects Cleveland Police to adopt a more candid and transparent approach to his scrutiny of the Force.
Minutes and agendas of the PCC's scrutiny meetings with Cleveland Police and partners are published on his website:
Updates on Force improvement
This area of the website will be used to update the public on actions the PCC has taken to hold the Chief Constable to account and for any further updates on PCC initiatives and schemes to improve public satisfaction in policing and community safety.