I was elected as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland in 2012 – a role I believe has massive potential to make our area a much safer and better place to live, work and visit. My main constraint is having the resources needed to do just that.
I see every day the great bravery, loyalty, passion, goodwill, and enthusiasm from our local officers, staff and volunteers – as well as many professional and community partners. Collectively, all these resources make an immense contribution to make communities safer – it just needs those in power nationally to give us the best chance to do so, by allocating Cleveland a fairer share of resources. For example, in 2019 Merseyside OPCC were awarded £18m from ‘Serious Violence’ and ‘County Lines’ funding streams, where Cleveland missed out, through what I believe are flawed funding formulas.
After nearly 10 years of government austerity, the recent announcement of additional investment for policing is welcome. However, this new level of extra investment needs maintaining year on year, for the following three years at least, so we can grow officer and staff numbers by another third - to where they were - and need to be. This will also allow us to further invest and develop more measures with partners up-stream to tackle the conditions in which crime develops.
My general approach has been to make myself approachable and accessible to all. I have worked with local communities for many years and local politicians, of all parties or none, the vast majority of whom I’ve enjoyed constructive working relationships with, and who understand and are honest about the challenges we face, and scale and scope of actions needed to address them.
As well as austerity, Cleveland Police has faced various other challenges since 2012 and despite improvements being made and recognised earlier in my tenure, the recent judgements by HMICRFS were of significant concern. Inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour by a very small number has massive consequences for morale and confidence – and distracts attention from the great work of our front-line officers and staff, of whom we should all be proud and who I will always defend from unjustified criticism. Equally, I have not shied away from my responsibility for scrutiny and challenge, and for taking appropriate strategic actions where required. Cleveland Police is now at a crucial turning point and significant improvements are being made, which I believe will be driven forward by Chief Constable Richard Lewis.
This report sets out some of the many achievements from my years as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland. I’m proud to have delivered a number of commitments from my various Police and Crime Plans, through a number of programmes that have brought together people from all walks in life, making a difference to the communities we serve.
Please follow the links below to read about the achievements made in the last eight years:
1. Investing in Our Police
2. Getting a Better Deal for Victims
3. Reducing Reoffending
You can also see the report delivered to the Police and Crime Panel by clicking here.