Home Secretary Priti Patel was welcomed to Cleveland Community Safety Hub by PCC Steve Turner and Chief Constable Richard Lewis as part of a visit to the region on Thursday 10 June.
Before heading to Redcar to meet new police recruits, the Home Secretary received a hard-hitting presentation showcasing the true reality of the serious violence problem in Cleveland.
Ms Patel heard about the challenges Cleveland faces in tackling serious violence and the impact that this has on communities and was shown video footage of emerging crime trends.
PCC Steve Turner said: “It’s fantastic to welcome the Home Secretary to Cleveland and I cannot afford to waste this opportunity to remind her about the daily violence that has sadly become a way of life for Cleveland residents.
“I wanted her to see the stories and understand the statistics of violent crime that takes place in Cleveland. There are too many families who have had their lives changed forever by the violent acts of another person.
“Myself and the Chief Constable are committed to building a state-of-the-art, nationally recognised violence reduction unit in Cleveland and it’s crucial that the area is prioritised in funding opportunities to protect lives.”
Cleveland currently has the second highest violent crime rate in the country, standing at 42.8 per 1,000 population compared to the national rate of 30.0.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the national average reduction in recorded serious violence is 8%. However, during the same period Cleveland experienced an 30% increase.
Over the last 12 months the number of offences involving knives and sharp objects has increased by over 11%, with Cleveland now accounting for the fourth highest rate in the country. This is despite a national decrease of 9% nationally over the same period.
Despite these figures, Cleveland is not amongst the 18 forces identified by the Government as having an issue with serious violence – and therefore has not been prioritised for funding for a violence reduction unit.
These 18 forces were selected through examination of hospital admission data for knife-related injuries. This analysis fails to acknowledge Cleveland’s smaller population, the area’s high levels of reported violent crime or account for violent incidents that go unreported or do not involve a sharp object.
Steve added: “I made strong representations to the Home Secretary that the current funding formulae must be reviewed to account for forces like Cleveland where the need is amongst the greatest in the country.
“Such a review would ensure Cleveland falls into a future funding bracket and receive the money it desperately needs to ensure the safety and security of our residents both in the near and long-term future.
“This unit would not only enable Cleveland Police tackle the criminal groups responsible for violent crime, it will allow us to invest in diversion and intervention work to prevent violence before it occurs. “This will safeguard the futures of hundreds of vulnerable young people who are dragged into this violent and destructive world on an almost daily basis.”