Responding to the recently released Peel report, PCC Barry Coppinger said:
“It is important that the public are aware that this report is based on HMIC visits carried out as long ago as March 2015 and as such it does not reflect the current situation.
“We now have in place a balanced, long term financial plan that sets out the force spending for the next four years based on the recent central Government allocation outlined in the Budget. This report by HMIC is based on information collated in March 2015 which pre-dates the budget and so does not reflect the current financial planning of the force.
“In terms of protecting vulnerable people, the media and police partners will be aware of “Towards 2020”, the policing strategy unveiled by the Temporary Chief Constable Iain Spittal in November last year. This outlined how our priority is in protecting vulnerable people and how prudent financial management has allowed an additional £2m per year to be allocated to this area.
“The HMIC inspection report is based on visits that pre-date these developments. We take note of the concerns raised and have implemented change to address these areas. I would expect this to be reflected in the next HMIC report.
“I am confident that were this report to be drawn up based on the current position our gradings would be higher.
“Whilst there will always be some delay between an inspection and the production of a report, I feel the many months it has taken in this case is too long. If there are serious concerns, it is wrong that it takes so long for them to be flagged up. I wrote to the HMIC last year suggesting the police inspection format should follow that of Ofsted, where inspectors who visit schools are able to feed back within four weeks and I will be making this point again.
“Whilst we are not failing in any areas of policing, I am concerned at the gradings in this report and the Temporary Chief Constable is aware of my concerns and the need for improvement.
“I spoke with the HMIC yesterday (Wed 24.02.16) with regard to this report and I am re-assured that he feels the force leadership team are aware of the improvements that are required. The HMIC also recognises that work is already underway to bring about improvement and he accepts the report reflects the situation up to 11 months ago rather than the current position.
“Through working with the HMIC and other bodies the force is now clear where improvement is required and has a clear plan to achieve this. What is needed now is for officers and staff, under the police leadership team, to be able to get on with their jobs and bring about the required improvement. I will hold the leadership team to account to ensure this happens.”
Deputy Chief Constable Simon Nickless said: “These inspections are important, and the local reports balance the good work that we do with the areas that we need to improve upon.
“We are naturally disappointed by the grading’s but we will continue to improve through the work we have already started. HMIC has seen an ethical culture at Cleveland Police and has praised the standards of our investigations and how we respond to serious and organised crime.
“I do not take the comments or the concerns raised by Mike Cunningham lightly, we are in dialogue with him as to the approach we are taking. HMIC recognises that we have delivered good work in areas but we need to improve and we will work with them in order to do so.
“I remain extremely proud of the dedication of our officers and staff who are passionate in keeping our communities safe.”
Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) 2016/17 to 2019/20 and Capital Plans 2016/17 to 2019/20 and associated papers.
Posted on Thursday 25th February 2016