PCC Barry Coppinger with residents at Park ward in Hartlepool
Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner has attended 700 community meetings since taking office.
PCC Barry Coppinger met with residents of Park ward in Hartlepool last night, as part of his ‘Your Force Your Voice’ programme, an ongoing commitment to community engagement.
He was joined by Hartlepool PCSO Cath Jones, who was instrumental in setting up the new Coastal Watch scheme in the town, and Sgt Ian Raine.
There were discussions about the Force’s new website, victims’ services, and recruiting new officers. Residents also shared their concern that the custody cells are no longer being used in Hartlepool.
Mr Coppinger has made meeting with the public a key part of his role as PCC, and has embedded it in his Police and Crime Plan throughout his seven years in office. He said: “I have always believed that it is crucial Police and Crime Commissioners engage regularly with the public, to better understand their policing priorities and to develop strategies with their concerns in mind.
“To this end, I placed community engagement at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan and to have reached 700 community meetings in seven years is a significant milestone.
“It’s always a pleasure to visit Hartlepool and speak to residents. This was my 13th community meeting in the town in this year alone and I’m pleased it was so productive.”
Some of the recurring themes that have come out of community meetings across Cleveland include the shortage of officers, and how effectively agencies work together. The PCC is pleased to now be able to reassure communities that new officers are being recruited across the Force. He was also involved in Hartlepool establishing very effective partnership working through its Integrated Community Safety Team, which sees police officers co-located with local authority and other agencies, to work together daily on joint priorities across the town.
The PCC has also established a Community Safety Initiatives Fund to help communities to tackle the issues that mean the most to them, which has helped over 130 local projects.
In Hartlepool this has included: new equipment for the Hartlepool Coastal Surveillance Station; supporting Hartlepool Asylum Seeker and Refugee Group with events; the Hartlepool United Community Sports Foundation, and the Rifty youth diversion activities.
Across Cleveland, there have been a number of success stories to come out of community meetings. The work to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour on Eston Hills came about because of concerns raised by members of the public. In Billingham, concerned residents spoke up about off-road bikes which led to the implementation of Operation Kickstart to tackle the issue. Mr Coppinger also attended a number of community events over the summer, including Hartlepool’s Waterfront Festival, and consulted with people on their views about the process for scrutinising the Force and what they would like to see from local policing.
Mr Coppinger said: “Community meetings remain a vital way for the public to have their voices heard, and I would encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to come along.”
Posted on Thursday 28th November 2019