Hartlepool by-election: Prime Minister Boris Johnson praises work of firearms officers who kept him safe on visits

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the work of police firearms officers who kept him safe on visits to Harlepool during and after the by-election campaign.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 9:58 am

The town’s new Conservative MP defeated Labour rival Paul Williams by nearly 7,000 votes in a seat never previously won by the party – part of a brutal set of losses for Sir Keir Starmer.

Now Mr Johnson has thanked the officers who kept him safe during the election campaign.

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Boris Johnson visits Jackson's Wharf, Hartlepool, in May, to congratulate Jill Mortimer after she became Hartlepool's new Conservative MP.

In a signed letter to the Cleveland Police, he highlighed the professionalism of the team responsible for facilitating visits by himself and other senior politicians.

Many of these official visits to Teesside have been spearheaded by an all-women team of firearms experts.

Cleveland Police heralded the work of these women - Assistant Chief Constable Lisa Theaker, Superintendent Sharon Cooney, and Chief Inspector Helen Wilson, on International Women’s Day this year.

Assistant Chief Constable Lisa Theaker said: “A lot of planning and preparation goes on behind the scenes to make sure that these visits happen safely for everyone involved.

“The praise from the Prime Minister comes at a time when Cleveland Police is making bold and innovative decisions on how to protect people from harm. We are forming new ways of working to keep families safe from the threat of violence and to protect children from organised crime groups, operating across Teesside and Hartlepool.

“I’m pleased that he has heralded the professionalism of the team, because I see it consistently from our staff who work in this specialist area and it was evident when at the helm of the operational response, which was coordinated in Middlesbrough.”

George Maratty, Head of Armed Policing, working under the banner of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit (CDSOU) said: “It’s not every day that you receive a letter from the Prime Minister so it’s a real boost for the officers who worked consistently on these operations. He’s ‘top trumped’ me now, so I don’t think any of the praise I give to our staff in the future will compare to this correspondence.”

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