Home Secretary given hard-hitting police presentation on Cleveland's 'epidemic' of violence
Home Secretary Priti Patel was given a hard-hitting presentation on the region’s serious violence “epidemic” on a visit to Cleveland Police’s headquarters.
Ms Patel heard about Cleveland having the second highest violent crime rate in the country when she met with Chief Constable Richard Lewis and Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner.
Serious violence for the force area increased by 30% during the pandemic whereas nationally it saw a 8% decrease.
The Home Secretary heard about challenges faced by the force and watched a video of local crime trends.
Offences involving knives and sharp objects have increased by over 11%, with Cleveland now having the fourth highest rate in the country.
Mr Turner said: “It’s fantastic to welcome the Home Secretary to Cleveland and I cannot afford to waste this opportunity to remind her about the daily violence that has sadly become a way of life for Cleveland residents.
“I wanted her to see the stories and understand the statistics of violent crime that takes place in Cleveland.
"There are too many families who have had their lives changed forever by the violent acts of another person.”
He and Chief Constable Lewis say they are committed to building a state-of-the-art, nationally recognised violence reduction unit but Cleveland has not been prioritised for government funding.
Mr Turner added: “I made strong representations to the Home Secretary that the current funding formulae must be reviewed to account for forces like Cleveland where the need is amongst the greatest in the country.”
He said a special unit would enable Cleveland Police to tackle criminal groups responsible for violent crime and to invest in diversion and intervention work.