Acting Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Oldroyd said: “I am satisfied that the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMICFRS) is a fair review of where Cleveland Police currently stands.
“I share the Inspectorate’s view that the Force has made progress in most areas relating to the protection of vulnerable people, but it needs to continue to improve to achieve a good standard of service.
“When it comes to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children, there can be no complacency and the public rightly have an expectation that the police, along with other agencies, protect the most vulnerable.
“I am aware of how the challenges and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have hindered the progress of the Force in taking forward some of the changes planned under the Chief Constable’s five year improvement plan.
“There has been notable progress in some areas, namely within the Force control room, in responding to domestic abuse and in how the Force records crime. That said, there is still more to do – particularly within the area of protecting vulnerable children.
“I am confident the Force is heading in the right direction. Through scrutiny sessions with the Chief, I can see how his robust improvement plan is laying the foundations for further improvement and innovation, which will ultimately deliver the high level of service the communities of Cleveland deserve.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure that police officer recruitment targets have been met ahead of schedule by providing funding to the Force in advance of the Government’s national investment.
“Along with the recent precept increase, this has provided the Chief Constable with the necessary resources to continue with his five year recovery plan and I will be holding him to account for using those resources efficiently and effectively.
“I note and agree with HMICFRS’ comments regarding the importance of partnership working with local authorities and other agencies, especially in the protection of children and vulnerable adults. My office will continue to engage with these partners to ensure we do all we can to assist the Force in this critical area of policing.
“After the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and as restrictions ease, I would expect the pace of change across the Force to accelerate.
“I will make it a priority to work with the new Commissioner elected in May to maintain oversight and scrutiny of the areas covered in this report – and across wider policing – to deliver positive and lasting change for Cleveland.”