A POLICE chief has disputed claims suggesting only half of Britons trust law enforcers, declaring he believes the people of Hartlepool hold officers in “high regard”.
Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Police, spoke out as he appeared as a special guest at the Hartlepool Diabetes Group meeting at the Central Library, in York Road, yesterday.
Mr Coppinger commented on the findings of a national survey of 2,079 people which found that 26 per cent of those questioned no longer had faith in the police.
However, 50 per cent did trust the police.
Mr Coppinger said he disagreed with the findings – certainly in respect of the experiences he has had in Hartlepool after visiting dozens of groups since taking up the role in November 2012.
But he said he would strive to win the trust of any doubters, and urged anyone with any complaints about the force to get in touch.
Mr Coppinger said: “My overall impression in the last year or so – after attending about 140 meetings throughout Cleveland with 40 per cent of those being in Hartlepool – is an overwhelming response from residents who have a high regard for the work of the police.
“That’s really encouraging for me because it means the partnership between the police and the community is working, and I’ll do everything I can to keep that.
“For the small minority of people who don’t trust the police here, I would say that I’m happy to deal with any questions, complaints or concerns that they’ve got.
“I would encourage people to complain to the police if they have any issues through the police complaints process, which is overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“Also if they have any suggestions about how policing can be improved I’m happy to receive them.”
Mr Coppinger says he will visit any groups in Hartlepool.
He added: “I’m also happy to come and talk to any other groups in Hartlepool as well.
“I’ve been delighted to come along to the Hartlepool Diabetes Group meeting to speak about what the police are doing and our plans.
“I’ve been made to feel really welcome.”
The national survery was carried out by ComRes on behalf of ITV.
The findings come in the wake of a series of public controversies involving the police in recent months, including claims officers lied over the “Plebgate” affair, and anger over the shooting dead and subsequent inquest of Mark Duggan.
People can contact Mr Coppinger’s office (01642) 301623 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org