In response to media calls regarding comments made by Middlesbrough Mayoral candidate Andy Preston, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said:
“I am always open to ideas on how policing can be improved and happy to meet with any elected representatives or candidates to discuss this.
“As PCC I set the strategic direction for policing across all four boroughs – as a result, Cleveland Police already have demanding objectives through the 70-point Police and Crime Plan which I have drawn up in consultation with local agencies, partners and feedback from over 600 meetings with local residents. Through regular scrutiny panels I hold senior police officers and other partners to account in delivering this.
“In addition, the police on a twice daily basis target their response to any emerging areas of concern across the communities of Middlesbrough and the wider force area.
“It’s also true that, in some categories, an increase in people coming forward to report crimes shows they have more confidence in police – this is particularly so in the area of rape, domestic violence and drug offences.
“The surest way to cut crime is to replace the 500 Police Officers and 50 PCSOs who have been lost to Cleveland in recent years. The evidence is clear that Cleveland, one of the most challenging policing beats in Britain, has suffered far greater cuts than other more affluent areas. I would urge Mr Preston and politicians of all parties and none, standing in local elections, to join my ongoing campaign for fairer funding for Cleveland Police.
"Our officers and staff remain dedicated to protecting local communities. Every day you can read in the local media of their work to make our streets safer, to apprehend criminals and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour taking place.
“On the day of Mr Preston's comments, the Force were dealing with over 230 calls for help in Middlesbrough, including 30 emergency calls, whilst also taking effective preventative action on patrol.
“This isn’t counting the specialist officers tackling cybercrime - an enormous area of policing protecting vulnerable children from grooming and exploitation. Or the officers and staff preventing hate crime and online fraud that targets the pensions and savings of the elderly and the vulnerable.
“Cleveland Police, like all other forces, is already subject to stringent and regular inspections by experts in policing, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate. Hopefully all candidates will read their latest reports. Further improvement is needed and there will be no complacency – as PCC I will hold the Force to account for delivering the best possible standards of service.
“After attracting the strongest field of candidates in the history of the force we have now appointed a new Chief Constable, Richard Lewis, who has a clear vision of how to take the force forward and I would urge everyone to support him in this.”
Posted on Thursday 11th April 2019