CLEVELAND Police’s new crime commissioner visited Hartlepool on his first day in the job.
Barry Coppinger was elected to the new role last week and spent his first day on a whistle-stop tour of the area.
He met with front-line police officers at the town’s York Road Police Office when he outlined his top priorities.
The new role has been created by the Government with powers to set local force’s policing priorities and hold their chief constable to account for the performance of the force.
Mr Coppinger pledged his commitment to neighbourhood policing and said he was impressed with the work done in Hartlepool to combat crime and improve people’s quality of life.
He said: “My role is to ensure the views and concerns of the public are reflected in the way the Cleveland area is policed.
“Coming to Hartlepool on my first day is a sign of my commitment to the town.
“I have been here quite a bit over the last few months and I’ve been really impressed with the work going on at neighbourhood level, but also the good partnership work.
“It’s a really good basis on which to build. Over the coming months I will be talking to various partner agencies and others to see if there is scope to improve things further.”
Mr Coppinger, a Middlesbrough councillor, quit his job with Redcar and Cleveland Council to devote himself full time to the job and will be in office for the next four years.
He will also step down as a councillor in the new year.
Mr Coppinger said his top priorities are to protect neighbourhood policing, ensure a better deal for victims and witnesses of crime, and closer working between police and partner agencies.
He also wants more work focusing on preventing criminals from re-offending.
His first tasks include advertising for a new Chief Constable to replace Sean Price who was sacked last month after being found guilty of gross misconduct.
He will also be involved in setting the police budget for next year and preparing a Police and Crime Plan setting out the force’s key priorities.
Mr Coppinger also plans to visit every neighbourhood policing area in Cleveland under the Your Voice, Your Neighbourhood initiative.
The 57-year-old dad of two will be based at Cleveland Police headquarters in Middlesbrough, but said he planned to be out and about as much as possible.