Cleveland’s new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner has used his first day in office to set out his vision to get tough on crime, recruit more police officers and improve support for victims.
Following the local elections held on 6 May 2021, Mr Turner was declared as the new PCC for the Cleveland Police force area on Friday 7 May with 54% of the vote.
His primary objective is to support Cleveland Police to address the crimes blighting the lives of Cleveland residents including drug dealing, antisocial behaviour and violent crime.
He wants to boost police support for Cleveland’s rural communities and plans to reward Cleveland’s volunteer police officers with a council tax break.
Technology will play a central role in the new PCC’s ambitions to improve the way Cleveland Police respond to and investigate crime, with objectives to increase drone capacity and develop an app for victims to report crime.
One of his first priorities is to reopen Hartlepool’s custody suite, which was mothballed in 2019.
All of these objectives will feature in the new Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan, currently under development and due for publication in summer 2021.
Mr Turner said: “I’ve put the last year to good use by speaking to as many residents as I can about their crime and community safety concerns – and there are some really common themes.
“People are sick of seeing drug dealing out in the open and on their streets, with the perception that very little action is being taken. Whole communities feel blighted by relentless antisocial behaviour and our rural communities feel out on a limb in comparison with our well-policed urban areas.
“What Cleveland Police need to tackle these issues and make the significant improvements the public expect is strong leadership. Working with Chief Constable Richard Lewis, I want to make Cleveland Police a force residents know will keep them safe and can take real pride in.
“While Cleveland Police’s journey of improvement will take time, I’m confident I can deliver the majority of the commitments I promise within my first year as PCC.
“I already have a number of projects in development and I’m excited about the difference they will make to people living, working and visiting in Cleveland.”
Mr Turner spent his first day in office in conversation with Cleveland Police’s Chief Constable Richard Lewis.
Chief Constable Lewis said: “The role of the PCC is important to our ongoing work as they allocate funding to areas of policing, and commission services from outside agencies through their Police and Crime Plan.
“This is a good time to be part of the Cleveland Police journey. Our Towards 2025 Plan and programme of service improvement are delivering real results, making local people’s lives better, empowering leaders, and improving the workplace.
“I have spoken to Steve and he shares my commitment to promoting the work that our officers, staff and volunteers do and giving them the right skills and resources to help them deliver a great level of service.
“I’m sure that he’ll be as proud as I am of the dedication they’ve shown to their work across Teesside, saving lives, and tackling crime.”
By mutual agreement with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in North Yorkshire, Mr Turner has released Simon Dennis early from his post as Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer for Cleveland to take up a new role at North Yorkshire OPFCC.
The PCC’s office in Cleveland will be led by former Acting PCC Lisa Oldroyd, who has been appointed as Acting Chief Executive. Mrs Oldroyd’s appointment will be confirmed by Cleveland Police and Crime Panel in the coming weeks.
Mr Turner added: “I want to thank Simon Dennis for his service. He has overseen many significant events during his seven years as Chief Executive and I wish him well in his new role in North Yorkshire.
“I look forward to working with Acting Chief Executive Lisa Oldroyd on developing my new Police and Crime Plan until a permanent replacement can be recruited.”