Since November I have attended 48 local community meetings across Cleveland and am well aware how much residents value and support the work of the Police in their local neighbourhoods, as well as in tackling serious and organised and other crime. The work that the Force has done is shown in the lowest ever recorded levels of crime.
Recent revelations regarding Operation Pomeroy, including the financial settlement to James Watson will have raised public concerns, which I share.
I have read the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report titled Operation Pomeroy, which clearly identifies failings and weaknesses in the way Mr Watson was dealt with.
The investigation into the 6 complaints, carried out by West Yorkshire Police for the IPCC, started in 2010. The matters occurred in the years before this. The IPCC and Crown Prosecution Service took until 2012 to finalise their report and decisions, the settlement on the one complaint being reached earlier in 2013. Of the 6 complaints considered, 1 was upheld, 4 were not upheld and the other involves another Force.
Whilst not wanting to underestimate the seriousness re the matter which has been settled, insurance is in place regarding claims against the police.
Changes have been made, and actions have been implemented, following the IPCC report.
In appointing a new Chief Constable I made clear that professional integrity was of critical importance and I would hold whoever was appointed to account in this respect.
Jacqui Cheer as Chief Constable has demonstrated that integrity is fundamental to the approach the Force is taking now and into the future, which has been recognised in the IPCC report. I will continue to monitor progress and the Chief Constable and I will report accordingly to the public Audit Committee and to the Police & Crime Panel.
I have also written to the IPCC to ask that their report be published, so the public are aware.
I hope the Cleveland force can continue to serve the public to the standards they expect and will do everything I can to ensure this is achieved.
Posted on Monday 13th May 2013