New police chief appointed

WARM WELCOME: Jacqui Cheer and Barry Coppinger
WARM WELCOME: Jacqui Cheer and Barry Coppinger

A NEW police chief has been appointed.

Jacqui Cheer has been confirmed as Chief Constable of Cleveland Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger says it means the force is now ready “to move ahead at full speed in delivering the priorities which meet the needs and concerns of our local communities”.

Mr Coppinger was speaking after the unanimous confirmation by the area’s Police and Crime Panel of the appointment of Mrs Cheer, who has led the force as Temporary Chief Constable since October 2011.

Police and Crime Panel chairman, Coun Norma Stephenson, said she and her colleagues on the panel recognised Mrs Cheer as “an outstanding candidate” who had already proved herself by leading the force through a very challenging period, and bringing down crime and anti-social behaviour.

Mrs Cheer spent 22 years working with Essex Police and the Home Office Reform Unit before joining Suffolk Police as Assistant Chief Constable in 2006, leading the major investigation into the murders of five women in the Ipswich area.

She was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable of Suffolk Police in November the following year and was subsequently seconded to Cleveland. She serves as the lead on Children and Young People for the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Mr Coppinger said: “This really does mark an important step forward in putting the force on the firm footing we need to move forward. Mrs Cheer understands that, as far as I am concerned, her key task has to be continuing to drive down crime, she is committed to integrity and professional standards and fully supports my top priority of retaining and developing neighbourhood policing as the bedrock of our service to the public.

“We have the advantage of someone who already knows the force and the area and has a proven track record, under her leadership crime in Cleveland last year was the lowest on record.”

Mrs Cheer said: “I am delighted that my appointment has been confirmed by the panel and I am proud to lead Cleveland Police into the future.

“There is no doubt that we have been through some tough times during the last year or so, and I am grateful to all our officers, staff, police partner staff and our external partners for all their support.

“I know that we have some real challenges ahead with the ongoing financial pressures and our change programme, but I am confident that we will continue to deliver an excellent policing service to the communities in Cleveland.”