2021 was a busy year for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Cleveland.
Despite the pandemic and frequently working under COVID-19 restrictions, the OPCC has managed to secure an additional £3.5m funding to support services for some of the most vulnerable members of the community.
It also welcomed new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner into office following his election in May.
The OPCC hosted a number of high profile guests to show them what the office is doing – and tell them what it still hopes to do – to make Cleveland a safer place.
In 2021, the OPCC was awarded more than £1.1m in Home Office Safer Streets funding following a series of successful bids.
The first round of Safer Streets funding focussed on Burn Valley, Hartlepool, Newport, in Middlesbrough, and South Bank, in Redcar and Cleveland.
Safer Streets 2 is now working on improving community safety in and around Stockton town centre.
Safer Streets 3 is focussed on preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in central Middlesbrough – and providing support for survivors of gender-based violence and harassment.
In addition, the team also secured an additional £390,000 to enable Cleveland Police to conduct extra patrols in violent crime hotspot locations.
Cleveland Divert, which the OPCC runs in partnership with the Probation Service and Cleveland Police, won the Policing and Adults category in the national Howard League Community Awards 2021.
Divert aims to steer first time and low level offenders away from the criminal justice system and towards the support, which they need to prevent further offending.
Since 2018, more than 700 referrals have been accepted onto Divert. Re-offending rates show that for every 100 participants, less than six go on to re-offend.
The team also managed to secure external funding for the Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) programme, which it piloted. HAT has now moved from OPCC to Project ADDER funding.
As the victims’ champion in Cleveland, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office secured additional funds to help aid the recovery of and support some of the most vulnerable victims of crime.
Staff oversaw the delivery of the second year of a £205,000 Home Office project to improve support available to help children and young people recover from sexual abuse.
A massive £1.009m-worth of Ministry of Justice (MOJ) funding poured into the region as a result of successful bids by the OPCC.
The additional cash will provide increased support for the victims of domestic and sexual violence.
A further £32,227-worth of MOJ funding will support a pilot scheme set up to help young male victims of sexual abuse. It will also support young men vulnerable to exposure to risky sexual behaviours.
December saw the launch of Cleveland Police and Crime Plan 2021 to 2024.
The plan sets out PCC Steve Turner’s priorities and how he plans to achieve them in partnership with his team and a range of agencies across Cleveland.
Among the plan’s priorities are preventing, reducing and tackling serious violence, putting more police on Cleveland’s streets and getting tough on drugs and gangs.
The plan is the blueprint for policing in Cleveland over the next three years over the next three years.
One of the plan’s 10 priorities – using technology to combat crime – took a step forward towards the end of the year.
Shortlisted companies presented their vision for a new policing app to the PCC and other key stakeholders.
The app aims to make it easier for individuals and agencies to pass information on to both the police and OPCC. Further progress on the app’s development is expected this year.
As the people’s voice in policing in Cleveland, the PCC also led a number of consultation and engagement events.
They took place to make sure the PCC’s plans were broadly in line with what residents, business owners and other stakeholders across Cleveland wanted.
One of the most successful consultations of recent years was an online survey into violence against women and girls.
The OPCC asked how safe women and girls felt in a range of situations across Cleveland and what they wanted to see to make them feel safer.
More than 80 per cent survey participants said that they felt unsafe in Cleveland after dark.
These important views formed the basis of a successful bid for funding as part of the Home Office’s Safer Streets 3 programme.
More than £50,000 has been given to grass roots projects and charities in community grants.
The grants aim to divert young people under 25 from crime in a wide range of ways.
Among the recipients were Redcar’s Chris Cave Foundation, the Crimestoppers, Middlesbrough’s Community Ventures and Stockton-based community interest company Element One
Among the PCC- funded projects, are an ambitious programme to young people falling prey to knife crime and a grass roots project aimed at encouraging boys and young men to make positive lifestyle choices.
At the start of the year, Cleveland’s first Youth Commission presented a comprehensive report on how young people feel about crime, community safety and criminal justice.
Their findings were based on feedback from hundreds of young people across Cleveland.
The report will now form the basis for the Youth Commission’s work during its second year.
During 2021, both victim support and targeted detached youth services were re-designed before going out to tender.
That’s so both services can better meet the needs of Cleveland’s communities when new services are commissioned in the early part of 2022..
The local police complaints model has also been reshaped and will see the introduction of a new OPCC Resolution Team.
The team will act as the single point of contact for all complaints about Cleveland Police.
The new model, which is due to be launched next month, is designed to boost public confidence in the system and lead to a faster resolution of complaints
Government Ministers Visit
Visits from Home Secretary Priti Patel and Minister for Policing Kit Malthouse during the summer raised the region’s profile.
They also gave the OPCC a chance to showcase some of its innovative work with partners throughout Cleveland.
In addition, the PCC and staff told ministers how much more needs to be done to prevent the epidemic of serious violence, which blights lives of communities, victims and their families.
A Busy Year
PCC for Cleveland Steve Turner said: “It’s been a very busy first few months in office for me – but there’s no sign of the pace slowing any time soon.
“Just before Christmas, I launched my Police and Crime Plan. It will direct the work of myself and Cleveland Police over the next three years.
“Currently, we are recruiting a new Chief Constable for Cleveland and we are working on a number of new-look services including complaints, on which the OPCC will lead.”
Lisa Oldroyd, OPCC Chief Executive, said: “I’m so proud of the OPCC team. We have delivered above and beyond all expectations in the last 12 months.
“Staff have forged ahead with some innovative and very successful work during 2021 and I know 2022 will see them step up to the challenge ahead again”