Hartlepool MP hopes new chief constable will make town policing a top priority

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has urged Cleveland Police’s new Chief Constable to make the policing needs of the town a top priority.

He has welcomed this week’s appointment of Richard Lewis as the Cleveland force’s top cop following the resignation of former Chief Constable Mike Veale in January.

Richard Lewis, the new Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, with Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

Richard Lewis, the new Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, with Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

Mr Hill says he hopes Chief Con Lewis will focus on the needs of Hartlepool following recent high-profile exposure of crime and policing in Hartlepool by the national media including Channel 4’s controversial Skint Britain series.

Mr Hill said: “I congratulate Richard on becoming Chief Constable and look forward to meeting him to discuss crime and policing in Hartlepool.

“He does come highly recommended by the Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, Norma Stephenson OBE, and having done his homework to do the job I’m sure he is well aware of the focus on Hartlepool in the national news recently and it’s exposure of a lack of bobbies on the beat here.”

Mr Hill recognised the impact of government police cuts resulting in the reduction of 500 posts in Cleveland since 2010.

But he added: “The BBC exposure of the lack of a police presence in Hartlepool on national TV did result in communities feeling unsafe at the time, in people quite rightly saying it was an invite to criminals to come rob the place, in the confusion of neighbourhood watch schemes versus vigilantism and the failed attempts of private companies to build a base here to subjugate the role of the police.

“All of which tells me that the public not only continues to respect the police, but also wants to see them back on our streets again, protecting people and looking after our communities.”

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, said he agreed with Mr Hill that Hartlepool should get the service residents deserve.

Mr Coppinger said: “I want to show him the fantastic partnership work taking place in Hartlepool to keep people safe.”