Cleveland crime chief accepts the need for urgent improvement after criticisms against police

Cleveland’s crime commissioner accepts ‘urgent improvements’ are needed in the force following a critical report.

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 16:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 13:59 pm
Richard Lewis Chief Constable Cleveland Police Force and Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger in Hartlepool.

Some work practices at Cleveland Police were branded “about as inefficient as you can possibly imagine" by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) with officers sharing laptops and bodyworn cameras.

Sir Thomas Winsor found there were not enough body cameras to go round and some officers were queuing up at the end of shifts to take turns to input information onto force laptops because there were not enough laptops.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said the concerns highlighted in the State of Policing report were of great concern to him but that work is happening to improve things.

Mr Coppinger said: “My Office have been assured by the Force in November 2018 and again in May this year that this equipment was in use across the organisation and the roll-out of new technology was underway.

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“Chief Constable Richard Lewis and I are in agreement that the Force’s current level of service is not acceptable and improvements must be urgently made to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

“An open and transparent partnership between the two of us will be crucial to making this vision a reality.

“The Strategic Direction I have issued sets a clear framework for the Chief Constable in tackling these challenges.”

Mr Coppinger said he will continue to hold Chief Constable Lewis to account and seek assurances about how the force will keep the public safe.

He added: “I am pleased to note the confidence expressed in the Chief Constable and his team by Sir Thomas.

“It is imperative that they drive forward improvements across the Force and I will be monitoring their progress closely to ensure the people of Cleveland get the policing service they deserve.”

Mr Coppinger said the report recognised the challenges faced by police forces in deprived areas and the reliance on local council tax to ‘top up’ funding from Central Government.

He added he was committed to working with partners to disrupt the cycle of offending and put the needs of victims first.