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Local leaders discuss impact of coronavirus in Cleveland

LEADERS CHAT

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and Stockton Borough Council leaders Bob Cook joined the PCC and Chief Constable via video link

Police and Council leaders have discussed a post-coronavirus Cleveland in a video conference call organised by Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

Cleveland Chief Constable Richard Lewis, Stockton Council leader Bob Cook and Middlesbrough’s Elected Mayor Andy Preston used video technology to link up for the round table discussion. The other two local authority leaders had prior engagements but hoped to attend future scrutiny sessions.

All four attendees praised the willingness of organisations to work together in providing a response to the challenges faced and also the efforts of staff to ensure, wherever possible, that public services were delivered and adapted to assist those most at risk through Covid-19.

Bob Cook gave examples of how agencies had adapted to meet the particular demands of Covid-19. Over 3000 food parcels had been delivered across Stockton and volunteers walking the dogs of vulnerable people was just one example of the small but important tasks that have made such a difference to isolated people during the crisis.

Andy Preston said the first few weeks had seen a number of people contacting him concerned about distancing issues. Now the most common theme was concern about drug dealing. He asked that the police increase their focus on this issue.

In response CC Lewis said drug dealing will be a major focus of the Neighbourhood Police Teams now being increased across the Cleveland area.

Council leaders expressed concern that if the Government does not fully compensate them for the costs of Covid-19, then services could suffer in the future. There is also concern at the impact it will have on the survival of local businesses and therefore jobs and the local economy.

All four leaders expected post-coronavirus working practices to be different than before and praised how staff had risen to the task of working from home – though CC Lewis stressed there are key police functions that will always require officers and staff on the street or at a secure base.

The video discussion is the latest in a serious arranged by the Police and Crime Commissioner as part of his scrutiny of the force.

Mr Coppinger said: “Police have been given increased powers and part of my role as Police and Crime Commissioner is to hold the Chief to account for the way these powers are implemented and I felt it was also important that locally elected leaders also have a chance to raise issues direct with the Chief.

“The discussion also allowed us to share experiences and to discuss how we can work in partnership now and in the future to deliver the best services possible to the public.”

The video can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiSTAW_Iutw

Previous video chats between the PCC and the Chief Constable can be found here: https://www.cleveland.pcc.police.uk/Information/CoronavirusCovid19/Covid-19-PCCs-video-meetings-with-Chief-Constable-Richard-Lewis.aspx

 

Posted on Wednesday 10th June 2020
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