New chief in town

Cleveland Police Temporary Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer on patrol in Hartlepool with PC Mark Doherty. Picture by FRANK REID
Cleveland Police Temporary Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer on patrol in Hartlepool with PC Mark Doherty. Picture by FRANK REID

A POLICE force’s new leader has praised Hartlepool’s officers after a whistle-stop tour of the town.

Cleveland Police’s Temporary Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer came to Hartlepool as part of her efforts to find out more about her new force’s districts.

She has been seconded from Suffolk Constabulary after Cleveland’s chief constable Sean Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard were suspended.

She spent all day yesterday in Hartlepool meeting officers and walking the streets, speaking to both residents and local businesses.

Temporary Chief Cons Cheer, who is unsure how long she will be in the £133,000-a-year position, said: “People in Hartlepool can be reassured that their police really know their patch.

“It’s easy for police officers to look at a burglary and just try and catch the person responsible.

“But people here look for the reasons behind it and how it can be prevented in the future.

“I have been impressed by what I have seen.

“They are really focused on supporting victims and going out and arresting and disturbing those responsible for crime.”

Temporary Chief Cons Cheer is now planning to return to the town in the coming weeks to see how officers police drinking hotspots on weekends.

She added: “I am looking at each district individually as I get a feel for the area.

“I have said to each district that they need to show what they are doing well and I had the opportunity to go out with the neighbourhood team.

“Of course you can’t know everything in just one visit, so I will be coming back to go out with the night-time economy team and find out more about the town.”

She held the rank of deputy chief constable in Suffolk before moving to Teesside last week.

At the time she said she hoped to boost morale in the force during a turbulent period, including cutbacks due to a reduction in Government funding and a probe into Cleveland Police Authority (CPA) under the title of Operation Sacristy.

The investigation led to Mr Price, Mr Bonnard and the former force solicitor Caroline Llewellyn being arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, fraud by abuse of position and corrupt practice on August 3.

They have been bailed until April next year.

An investigation, which is now being led by Chief Constable Keith Bristow, of Warkwickshire Police, was announced in May into a number of people with current or past associations with the CPA.

l Police have issued a crime-fighting message as the clocks get set to go back.

See page 7 for more details.