Cleveland Police and new chief praised by national watchdog

Police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger.
Police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger.

The new Chief Constable of Cleveland has been singled out for praise for his leadership skills in a national report by the police watchdog.

The report ‘Police Leadership 2017’ by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services highlights Mike Veale’s "inspirational" approach to force values.

The new chief constable of Cleveland Police Mike Veale, left, with police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger.

The new chief constable of Cleveland Police Mike Veale, left, with police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger.

It describes how under Mr Veale’s leadership, Wiltshire Police sees treating people fairly and with respect as a fundamental part of the force’s expressed values.

Cleveland Police is also praised for its defence of neighbourhood policing and innovative approach to apprenticeships.

The report states: “Officers and staff have praised these events and have described the use of the force values as important in their contact with the public.

"Their positive description of the force’s values reinforces how well established and understood they are.”

The report also cites Cleveland Police as an example of a force looking to free up officers for problem-solving activities – notably in protecting Neighbourhood Policing.

Using the force as an example of good practice, the report states: “Following a review of the force neighbourhood model in 2016, Cleveland Police has made significant

changes to its deployment processes to reduce abstractions from neighbourhood duties.”

The report also uses Cleveland as a positive example of a force adopting an apprenticeship framework for training people in police staff roles.

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “For Cleveland Police to be flagged up twice in a national policing report as an example of best practice demonstrates what good shape the force is in – and that’s down to the unstinting efforts of officers and staff at all levels.

“I’m also delighted that the inspirational leadership of our new Chief Constable, Mike Veale, has been recognised.

"Treating people fairly and with respect is a central part of the ‘Everyone Matters’ strategy that the leadership team in Cleveland has implemented over the past year. It’s clear from this report that Mike Veale is well placed to lead and progress further this innovative work.”

The full report can be viewed at https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/

The news comes as a war of words broke out between two high profile figures over the appointment of the new chief constable.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen says he has “no faith” in the appointment of Mr Veale.

Mr Houchen has complained of the appointment in letters to Barry Coppinger, Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner. But Mr Coppinger has hit back saying Mr Veale has “an outstanding record” and Mr Houchen should offer him his support.

Mr Houchen raised concerns because Mr Veale faced criticism for the handling of accusations of historical child sex abuse against former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath while police chief in Wiltshire. Mr Veale is also being investigated for alleged misconduct relating to the case.

Responding, Mr Coppinger said: “Ben Houchen’s attacks upon serving Cleveland Police officers and staff and the newly appointed Chief Constable leave him totally isolated and without credibility."