Cleveland’s top cop says the force is facing tough challenges including more sophisticated crime and funding cuts.
Chief Constable Mike Veale, of Cleveland Police, says crime is becoming more sophisticated while forces are facing budget cuts and operating with less officers.
The chief constable said: “It’s tough here and having spent 34 years in policing I feel I can make a judgement on how tough Cleveland is.
“The lack of investment in the area means we are working in some of the most deprived wards in the country.
“Life expectancy is pretty rubbish in parts. Demand is going up, complexity is going through the roof in all public services and the police, yet resources are going down.”
Chief Con Veale told the panel policing demand was going up as healthcare, social care, mental health and drug and alcohol services saw “declines”.
He added: “So it’s not about saying we’re busier than anybody else – our public services and blue light services are facing big challenges but I’ve never known an area in policing be so hard.
“Public expectation is growing, scrutiny is growing, and the seriousness of criminality is more stark and more frightening than ever before.
“The sophistication of criminal activity is greater than it ever was – 30 years ago there was acquisitive crime, stealing and problems with drink-related crime – now you’ve got human trafficking, a massive increase in mental health demands and we have violent crime going through the roof.
“It’s a challenge when we’ve got less resources than we had.”
The chief’s rally came as he told the partnership his force was “not effectively dealing with demand coming through the front door” – adding there was a “huge amount of work” going on in the police control room to free up officers’ time.
He said some of his neighbourhood officers were becoming a “pseudo shoplifting team” and stressed the need to equip PCSOs to the “right level” to make inroads into some of the problems.
Chief Con Veale took over the top job in January and is seeking to improve the force through technological innovation, “streamlining” through the removal of two ranks, and hiring people on a “tight set of values”.
“I am not here to be popular, I am here to ensure we have the right people in the right place,” he added
Alex Metcalfe , Local Democracy Reporting Service