Police to face questions from councillors and residents over budget cuts

Barry Coppinger
Barry Coppinger
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POLICE chiefs are to take questions from councillors and residents over the challenges facing the force in light of budget cuts.

Cleveland Police bosses will be heading to Hartlepool on Thursday, December 5, for a presentation at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.

Barry Coppinger, Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner and deputy chief constable Iain Spittal will be speaking at the event, which starts at 6pm and residents are being urged to go along.

Mr Coppinger will talk about his first year in office, while the police duo are also expected to talk about the challenges facing the force and how it is to moving forward with limited funding.

As previously reported, Cleveland Police are having to make £26m worth of cuts before April next year, with more to come.

Hartlepool councillors and residents will then get the chance to put questions to the police duo prior to a meeting of the full council starting at 7pm.

A key item on the minds of residents and councillors is likely to be the police decision to close a community office and re-locate neighbourhood officers.

Senior officers say the decision to pull funding and man power from 173 York Road and relocate officers into Hartlepool Police’s Avenue Road headquarters is the best use of resources.

But councillors had raised concerns and called for the chance to meet with senior officials from Cleveland Police before the next meeting of full council.

Police chiefs have previously said there will be “no significant” effect on policing as a result of the move – which will see officers move half-a-mile up the road – and say officers will remain to be active in the areas.

Speaking previously, Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang, head of neighbourhood and partnership policing, said: “We remain dedicated to neighbourhood policing and residents will still see their neighbourhood officers on the ground.”

The running costs of the York Road premises had been shared between Hartlepool Borough Council and Cleveland Police and the local authority said it raises questions over the future sustainability of the building, from which the council’s neighbourhood management service is delivered.

For information about the police presentation call Hartlepool Council on (01429) 523013.