In response to the publication of the latest HMICFRS PEEL assessment of Cleveland Police, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Steve Turner said:
“I’m pleased that HMICFRS has recognised something that I have been aware of for some time – that despite facing difficult circumstances, Cleveland Police is a force that is rapidly improving.
“Considering the scale of the challenge facing the force following the 2019 inspection, I’m delighted that improvements have been made in almost all areas and that many of HMICFRS’ previous causes of concern have been addressed.
“Officers, staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly for the best part of three years to turn the force’s trajectory around. It’s extremely important that their efforts are recognised by this independent inspection.
“I’m particularly pleased to see where inspectors have highlighted innovative practices such as how Force Control Room assess the risk towards victims and how well they identify vulnerability. The report grades Cleveland Police’s crime recording processes as ‘good’ – a testament to a concerted force-wide effort in this area.
“Clearly, there is still a lot more to do. Inspectors have rightly noted areas where the force must make more progress to fully address two concerns highlighted in 2019, issues I am well aware of through my own scrutiny and accountability programme.
“More must be done to prevent crime, by better understanding the root causes of offending behaviour – and get upstream of them before they become a significant problem. I have already examined these issues in my scrutiny meetings and that will continue over the next 12 months.
“What the force needs now is to ensure this improvement is maintained and sustainable.
“I have been particularly impressed with the pace of change over the last six to nine months, under the leadership of Chief Constable Mark Webster. He has now recruited a strong leadership team and has implemented plans to drive forward improvements in the long-term, addressing HMICFRS’ concerns about strategic leadership and planning.
“In the next month or so, Cleveland Police is set to reach its highest police officer numbers since 2014. I believe this is key to supporting the Chief Constable to deliver his plans and I am pleased this milestone has been achieved ahead of schedule, supported by the contributions from the policing precept made by our communities.
“Since I was elected, I have been quite open about the realistic timeframe I believe it will take to transform Cleveland Police into a good or outstanding police force. It’s clear this is a journey that will go beyond my first term of office.
“With an increased frontline workforce, a strong leadership team in place and clear plans for improvement, I believe the force has the momentum to continue on this positive path. I’m committed to seeing this journey through as Police and Crime Commissioner into the next election cycle and beyond.”