Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner salutes 'heroes' in 'one of the most difficult areas in the country to police'

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner has saluted the “heroes” among the force’s officers, staff and volunteers.

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 1:32 pm
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Steve Turner.

In an article with local democracy reporter Stuart Arnold, the Conservative PCC said he is honoured to be in his post and how there has been never a dull moment since he was elected in May.

Mr Arnold also predicts an exciting time ahead with the selection of a new chief constable to replace the departed Richard Lewis expected by the end of January, who will serve in what he describes as one of the most difficult areas in the country to police.

Mr Turner looks forward to 2022 and his aim to ensure that the residents, communities and businesses of Cleveland “start to see a force they can be proud of”.

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PCC Steve Turner is looking forward to 2022.

“Since my election in May I have tried to involve myself in the workings of Cleveland Police – attending drug raids, meeting officers, staff and volunteers and making visits to our area’s prisons to ensure I have first-hand experience of the hard work being put in daily to make Cleveland safer.

“This has been paired with engaging with the incredible agencies that provide help and support for young people, victims of crime and the most vulnerable in our communities.

“It’s safe to say there has never been a dull moment.

“But there have also been some very rewarding moments, as well as some lows along the way – I’m sure there will be more of both to come.

PCC Steve Turner.

“Day one for me started with the task of recruiting a new chief executive, as the previous post holder had accepted a position away from Cleveland prior to me taking the role.

“I have inherited a team in the office of the PCC with an amazing array of talent and skill and I hope 2022 will see everyone playing to their strengths to deliver my Police and Crime Plan priorities.

“Developing my Police and Crime Plan became an integral part of our work over the first few months, with thousands of public interactions and consultation responses to ensure I could align the promises I’d made during the election campaign with what Cleveland Police needed, and importantly, what the wider public wanted.

“A new resolution model was drawn up to help build public confidence and independence into our police complaints handling procedure.

“Developers were sought for Cleveland’s first policing mobile app and the team crafted bids to seek funding across a variety of victim portfolios and policing initiatives.

“This is an exciting time and I can’t wait to see all these things and more come to fruition in the early part of 2022.

“Meeting after meeting took place with partners, stakeholders and the public as I learned more about the criminal justice system and victim support landscape in Cleveland.

“In July I had the privilege of welcoming both the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister to our area to discuss the challenges we faced and our need for Home Office support in a variety of areas, not least in our challenge to tackle serious violence.

“After the whirlwind of introductory and familiarisation meetings in May and June, July presented another challenge.

“I received a call from Chief Constable Richard Lewis on a Sunday morning and after a friendly walk and discussion along the beach it was obvious that his family circumstances meant he needed to work closer to home.

“We had started to build a great working relationship and while we healthily disagreed on some things, we were aligned on almost all the big positive changes we wanted to see for Cleveland.

“Over the last couple of years, he has put the force on a much firmer footing than it has been for some time.

“He leaves strong foundations for the next chief to build on and take us forward.

“Since becoming PCC, I am assured that Cleveland Police has moved forward on their previously inspected areas of concern and from the bottom up, it’s clear it has exceptional police officers, staff and volunteers.

“I’ve witnessed so much dedication, commitment and desire to serve the public since I arrived that I still feel honoured every time I walk through the door of the force’s headquarters.

“It is now my job to recruit a strong replacement for Richard.

“In the short term we have a very experienced officer in Acting Chief Constable Helen McMillan and I want to ensure that whoever our next permanent chief constable is they have the outstanding qualities needed to lead these heroes who serve in one of the most difficult areas in the country to police.

“So, what will 2022 bring?

“As I write we’re all still unsure what challenges covid-19 will throw at us.

“However, all things being equal, I will have a new chief constable selected by the end of January.

“On top of this we will have extra patrols for violent crime hot spots, a new victim services provision and more community grants to support young people and help the most vulnerable.

“There will be another 50 plus additional police officers and the continued targeting of the individuals and gangs who bring drugs and violence to our streets.

“All this and so much more – coupled with the work of the force’s dedicated officers, staff and volunteers – will ensure that the residents, communities and businesses of Cleveland really start to see that they have a force we can all be proud of.”

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