THIS is the new face of policing in Hartlepool with detectives, police constables and police community support officers all working together under one roof.
The super-hub office at Hartlepool Police Station, in Avenue Road, sees officers of all ranks and stations sharing intelligence and battling crime head on together.
This is a far cry from former policing models which saw plain-clothes detectives working separately from their uniformed colleagues who were based between the police station and community offices spread throughout Hartlepool.
Today Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang – who helped to set up the new-look team which is being piloted in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough – said he firmly believes the town will benefit from the change.
He said: “In terms of being a police officer I consider myself to be a Hartlepool police officer. I’ve spent most of my service here, largely in CID and also on several large inquiries.
“I believe I’ve got a decent knowledge of the town and certainly in terms of having Hartlepool in my heat, you can be reassured that’s the case.
“In my command I’m responsible for neighbourhood and partnership policing. One task given to me was to restructure neighbourhood policing and given a certain amount of resource I had to come up with something that was going to be fit for purpose, bearing in mind the economic climate that we’re in.
“So, we are piloting an integrated team which is something completely different and new.
“The way we are going about that is that we are bringing detectives, PCSOs and neighbourhood officers together into one office – all focused on tackling the same thing, neighbourhood crime in Hartlepool.”
He added: “On past high-profile cases I have worked on I have never once been unimpressed by what neighbourhood officers and PCSOs bring to an investigation.
“They carry an army of information and knowledge in their heads which is vitally important.
“Now, knowledge is being shared between all officers face to face across desks and that is a massive benefit. If it can be a success anywhere it can be a success here because the commitment of officers is second to none.”
The new super-hub office was created at around the same time as Cleveland Police announced it was to axe almost half of Hartlepool’s force of PCSOs.
The cuts will see the town’s PCSOs drop from 41 officers to 24 through re-deployment or redundancy over the next 18 months.
Despite losing 17 PCSOs, the controversial reshuffle will see the town left with a total of 64 officers, compared to 68 under the old model.
The new combined office will have 24 PCSOs, 28 police constables and 12 detective constables.
There will also be an additional nine more senior posts, including two detective sergeants, four sergeants, one detective inspector, and two inspectors.
While Hartlepool will have 24 PCSOs, Redcar and Cleveland will have 28, Middlesbrough, 42, and Stockton, 38.
The break-down was calculated by looking at crime figures and social factors.