Policing minister gets briefing on visit to Cleveland

Chief Constable Iain Spittal, PCC Barry Coppinger, and Policing Minister Nick
Hurd.
Chief Constable Iain Spittal, PCC Barry Coppinger, and Policing Minister Nick Hurd.

Local policing and community safety challenges and aspirations have been outlined during a ministerial visit to Cleveland.

The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd MP, visited the Cleveland Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) HQ at Wynyard today to talk to Cleveland Police Chief Constable Iain Spittal and Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

The Minister received a detailed presentation from Cleveland’s Chief Constable and was also briefed on community safety and related issues after being driven round the area.

Mr Coppinger said: “Nick Hurd is the first minister since I was elected in 2012 to come here and talk to the force and I about our needs, challenges, and concerns.

“That is welcome. I took the opportunity to take him to as many community locations within the time available, so he could see first-hand the visible impact of seven years of austerity since 2010 and the challenges it presents.

“I also wanted to ensure that he was informed about the excellent partnership working we have here, including ground-breaking work on support for victims, on future reform of criminal justice work, as well as our hopes for the future, including a state of the art community safety hub being built in Hemlington with local steel.

“The time is here now for increased investment in policing and community safety. That is the message from residents across Cleveland I have received in hundreds of local meetings.

"We would like the minister to put the case to government over the coming months and we will provide the information to support that case to him and local members of parliament.”

The CDSOU consists of officers and staff from Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police and includes specialist policing units including roads policing, dog section and firearms.

The two forces have collaborated since 2003 with firearms training and expanded this joint working between 2010 and 2012 with the roads policing element, motorbikes and collision investigation units.

In 2015 collaboration began to bring the two forces’ dog support units together.

The collaborative approach is designed to improve cross-border collaboration as well as making savings.

The Force continues to make savings but has recently highlighted that there is little left to cut if aspirations to cut crime and increase prevention are to be fulfilled.

Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: “We have an enormous aspiration to prevent crime, particularly in relation to crimes against children and vulnerable people.

"Today’s visit has given us an opportunity to set out these aspirations to the minister.

“We have also been very clear that because of the level of resources we now have and the changes we have had to make to make sure we can deal with active, day to day policing; the amount of money available to be spent on preventing harm to vulnerable people and wider crime prevention has shrunk significantly.

“Forces like ours have worked really, really hard to make ourselves more efficient and achieved our targets.

"The only way we can do more is by having more resources. We have reached a tipping point and this is a message which I stressed in today’s discussions.”