Following a weekend of reflection I am today announcing that I will not be standing at the PCC election in May 2020.
I hope this will enable everyone to now get behind the new Chief Constable Richard Lewis and support him as he takes forward robust plans to drive forward improvements.
For that to happen, it requires everyone to be pulling in the same direction and it has become clear to me that the current focus on me and calls for my resignation will not allow that to happen. Richard needs to be able to get on with the job without such distractions.
Change is already well underway and in my remaining months in office and in meetings with the HMI I will do all I can to ensure that continues.
It has been a great honour to serve two terms as Cleveland’s first Police and Crime Commissioner and I will always be proud of the work carried out by my Office. Amongst the most important achievements are:
- Implementing a whole range of initiatives, including
- Improving services to support people who through no fault of their own, find themselves victims of crime.
- Securing additional funding to support initiatives to address domestic abuse, sexual violence and supporting early intervention.
- Transforming approaches to offending and reoffending, through initiatives such as Divert and Restorative Cleveland.
- Working closely with partner organisations across Cleveland and the wider region. People expect the public and voluntary sector to work together closely to deliver services, especially when resources are scarce.
- Listening to the public’s priorities through my Your Force Your Voice programme, through which I’ve personally attending over 680 public meetings.
Listening is a key point. I am determined that Cleveland Police should better understand its accountability to the public. In my remaining time in office, I will take further steps to increase transparency and accountability – so that the public can see how the Force’s improvement plans are being driven forward.
Much progress has been made to move Cleveland Police on from unresolved problems dating back four decades. When I first came into office I made a decision to shine a light on what had gone on, to resolve those issues, reforming approaches to standards and ethics so the force could move forward. That did result in negative attention on the force but it was the right thing to do.
I expect this work to continue so the Chief Constable and the next PCC do not have to spend so much time and energy on dealing with historical wrongdoing.
It has been a humbling experience to join officers, staff and volunteers working across the force area and to see first-hand the selfless dedication they display in ensuring the safety of the public. Thank you all for the great work you do.
I have always argued that the Force must make the best use of the resources available. In my remaining time as PCC, I will ensure that it does so.
What is also clear is that the Force cannot deliver the level of service the public expect and the level of neighbourhood policing they want, without a reversal of the Government cuts that have taken 500 police officers and 50 PCSOs off our streets. I will continue to hold Government to account to deliver on the promise of the Prime Minister to provide more police officers.
Posted on Monday 30th September 2019