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Letter Sent to Simon Clarke MP in Relation to Policing in East Cleveland

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17 November, 2017 by email

Mr Simon Clarke MP

Dear Simon

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding policing in East Cleveland. 

The critical issue at the heart of this is the resourcing of policing here and the fact we’ve lost 450 police officers and 50 PCSOs since 2010, due to government cuts amounting to 36% of our budget. 

I share and support the concerns of local residents that they need more policing presence; and I note your point that residents express a view in surgeries and meetings about wanting more police in East Cleveland. 

As you will be aware, the deployment of police officers is solely the responsibility of the Chief Constable.

The Chief Constable has developed a police resourcing model that seeks to address all crime and make the very best use of the limited resources available.  It is part of the ’good’ judgement that HMICFRS made recently in respect of how the force makes best use of resources.

I understand that the Chief Constable ensures that resourcing allocation across the force is kept under review but, without budget increases, resourcing can only be increased in the villages of East Cleveland by removing provision from areas with higher crime, higher disorder and a higher proportion of deprivation and vulnerability. However, it is important to note that the resourcing model used for neighbourhood officers takes account of a variety of key crime and disorder incident data, levels of deprivation, educational attainment and the size of the population.

To provide some context to this debate:

  • Of the four local authorities served by Cleveland Police, Redcar & Cleveland are the only area to see a drop in publicly recorded crime in      the last 12 months (-6%). This includes a 40% reduction in residential burglary and a 38% reduction in robbery over the same period.
  • The reduction in crime across East Cleveland was 8.5%.
  • The area has also seen a 6.3% reduction in incidents and a 2.6% reduction in ASB incidents in the last 12 months. These are the best reductions of any of the 4 areas across the force.

It is also of note that much of the work of specialist teams who are working to investigate and tackle key problems such as domestic abuse, child abuse and cyber-crime within East Cleveland are largely invisible to local residents.

I would recommend you take some time out to come into police HQ and gain a full understanding from the Chief Constable of all the policing challenges - and in particular his resourcing of all of them, across all your constituency - and the Cleveland area as a whole, rather than expecting him to move ‘a couple of dozen more’ to East Cleveland.

In terms of the Guisborough neighbourhood policing sector, which includes the East Cleveland villages, a glance at the Cleveland police website will indicate there are: 1 Inspector; 2 Sgts; 9 PCs and 11 PCSOs serving that area.  I am happy to confirm that the team will be augmented by an additional 2 PCSO’s before Christmas. 

I also know there is an operationally diverse range of policing activity in East Cleveland on a daily basis, which may not always be apparent to individual residents.   For example:

  • The twice-daily Pacesetter meeting for the borough will look at offences around vulnerability; repeat victims; vulnerable victims - and jobs will be tasked out
  • Neighbourhood officers during the course of the day will make calls and visits on appointments related to their role
  • The Tasking and Co-ordination process operated by local management will again deploy officers to respond to issues e.g. involving vulnerable children or diversionary activity
  • Local problem solving work will be undertaken, sometimes involving partners, in various geographical ‘hot spot’ areas of East Cleveland.
  • Any local ‘zero’ (i.e. top priority) calls coming in will be responded to by nearest local officers, which could include missing from homes or serious offences.
  • Community engagement activity is undertaken; this could range from crime prevention activity in community locations, right through to operations such as Operation Checkpoint, our ongoing rural crime initiative.
  • Operation Impact patrols are ongoing in response to ASB – this will be vehicle parking up and officers walking and talking to youngsters in ‘hot spot’ locations.
  • In addition, Response Officers will come into areas where called.  This is another larger team based on the south side of the river, many of whom live in that location and are familiar with localities.
  • There is an Operational Crime Team (plain clothes CID) of detectives in the Borough who serve East Cleveland and respond to sexual and violent crime, burglaries, and other volume crime.
  • The Integrated Offender Management Team (IOM) for the area manage priority and prolific offenders – during the course of this year Redcar & Cleveland has had the lowest crime level of the 4 boroughs.
  • Police Troubled Families officers work locally on problem solving activity and Transformational challenge officers work with vulnerable adults.

The Police, myself, and other partners are also involved in a great deal of partnership activity in the East Cleveland area aimed at reducing crime.

After my election I visited various locations, including rural areas, and have continued to do so.   I established and chair a Tees Rural Crime Forum, which brings together police and council officers with rural responsibility; representative groups like the East Cleveland Communities Organisation (ECCO) and Tees Valley Rural Community Council; Environment Agency; Angling Trust; National Farmers Union; local councillors; residents and volunteers.

Meetings are well attended and constructive and we’ve developed a number of activities relevant to East Cleveland including:

  • The Dotpeen property marking crime prevention equipment has been used to protect thousands of valuable items
  • We continue to promote Cleveland Connected a web-based information sharing system which has 13,000 members, including just short of 1,000 Rural Watch members.
  • Operation Checkpoint, run 3 or 4 times a year, has involved hundreds of officers and volunteers, joined up across 7 forces and gained many arrests and other preventative activities.
  • Our volunteers and specials programme continues to develop and 3 Rural Crime Volunteers have been recruited to work with our Rural Crime Coordinator Volunteer.
  • Joint boat patrols with Environment agency to tackle riverside environmental crime.  Police have also supported volunteer bailiffs around illegal fishing.
  • I’ve also funded some cameras to assist rural crime and joint-funded with council fly-tipping signs.
  • Following growing problems with crime and ASB on and around Eston Hills I set up a multi-agency group which has drawn up a strategy to tackle illegal motorcyclists; introduce some physical security measures; undertake local education and community work.  Figures up to August have shown a 60% reduction in incidents.   Following on from this police have now launched Operation Endurance force-wide, to tackle motor cycle nuisance – more details are on my website.

I am sorry you seem unable to recognise the collective views of many, many residents across the area; local councillors; MPs; and various support services – and of course the hard-working officers and staff of Cleveland police – that we need more police resources in Cleveland - rather than expecting the Chief Constable to move resources from even higher crime and vulnerability areas of Cleveland into Brotton and surrounding villages. 

I am keen that all elected representatives serving this area use every opportunity to press the Government for fairer funding for Cleveland Police so that the severe cutbacks of the past seven years can be reversed and we can recruit more frontline officers for the benefit of all local communities. I hope I can rely on your support in this and that you will speak up for Cleveland when the budget comes forward for discussion, debate and confirmation.

In view of their interest in these matters, I will be sharing this letter with the East Cleveland Councillor’s and the Rural Crime Forum.

Yours sincerely,
Barry Coppinger
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland

 

Posted on Monday 20th November 2017
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