Cleveland Police chief constable to retire after 31 years of service

Iain Spittal.
Iain Spittal.

The chief constable of Cleveland Police is to retire, it has been announced.

Having started his life as a constable with North Yorkshire Police in 1986, Iain Spittal will retire at the end of 2017.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger (left) with Iain Spittal.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger (left) with Iain Spittal.

“When I joined Cleveland Police I came with a clear vision focused on improving the ability of the Force to deliver policing, protect our communities from harm and strengthen those same communities,” said Iain.

“Throughout my time here I have been determined in my commitment to move the Force forward through what have been some particularly challenging times.

“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate has highlighted enormous improvements in the Force, particularly over the last two years.

"We have gone from ‘requires improvement’ to being a Force performing as ‘good’ and continuing to improve on a journey towards ‘outstanding’.

“Having built these strong foundations for the future I am firmly of the view that the time is right for another individual, an individual who will be able to remain with the organisation through delivery, to take the Force forward on this journey.

“It is on this basis, knowing that I am not able to commit to being Chief Constable on this journey for the number of years it will require to achieve ‘outstanding’ that I have decided that it is right that I step down and retire as Chief Constable at the end of the year.

“I am immensely proud and humbled on a daily basis as a result of the determination, commitment and professionalism of those women and men who are Cleveland Police. It is they who have enabled such positive steps forward over recent years and it is they who should be proud of what they achieve every day.

“Whilst I am sad to retire, I leave secure in the knowledge that now is the right time and the legacy I leave hopefully creates the best possible platform for further improvements over the years to come.”

Iain was appointed in July 2016 by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Barry Coppinger, who has paid tribute to the Chief Constable for his work.

The PCC said: “Iain Spittal arrived at Cleveland Police at a time when the organisation faced enormous challenges both financially and professionally.

"He has tackled these challenges with integrity, dedication and calm professionalism.

“The progress made has been recognised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate, with our grading now ‘good’ and improving.

"To achieve that at a time when more than 400 police posts have been lost and £32m cut from the budget is testament to the leadership Iain has shown.

“Key to this progress has been the work Iain has overseen in the reform of professional standards within the force and the introduction of the Everyone Matters programme.

“Becoming a national leading force for standards and ethics is a key commitment in my Police and Crime Plan.

"Everyone Matters is the organisational development programme under which the Force embeds equality, diversity and human rights in serving its communities and supporting its people.

“Iain has served with great distinction as both Deputy Chief Constable and Chief Constable here in Cleveland.

"In all he has given over 31 years of dedicated service to the communities of North Yorkshire and Cleveland.

“In the coming weeks I will launch the recruitment for the next exceptional Chief Constable for Cleveland.

"In the meantime I wish Iain Spittal all the best in his retirement.”

Arrangements will now be put in place, led by the PCC, to recruit Iain’s successor.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said: “Cleveland Police has come a long way in the last two years under the leadership of Chief Constable Iain Spittal.

"I have seen the consistent progress made by the force in course of HMICFRS’ inspections, for which Iain should be justly proud.

“I would like to congratulate Iain on all that he has achieved and wish him all the best for the future.”

The Police Federation also paid tribute to Mr Spittal in a statement: “Throughout many difficult times Mr Spittal, as both DCC and as Chief Constable, has maintained a positive rapport with our office, appreciating the insight we offer from those at the forefront of delivering his vision.

“The force has seen significant change under his leadership.

"Beyond simply paper exercises he has helped shape positive cultural change, embedding the need for everyone to support each other and improving the service for the good of officers and public alike, as recognised by HMICFRS.

“A visible leader, he has not shied away from tackling historical issues, embracing openness and admitting failures where they existed."