Mayoral candidate calls for abolition of Cleveland Police

Coun Ben Houchen
Coun Ben Houchen

A would-be Mayor of Tees Valley has called for the abolition of Cleveland Police.

The announcement by Coun Ben Houchen, the Conservative candidate for the role which covers Darlington, Teesside and Hartlepool, comes after the ruling of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal that Cleveland Police acted unlawfully in using Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to try to find the source of information leaked to a local newspaper.

The force has also been the subject of a number of legal cases in recent years.

"The last few years have been so turbulent for Cleveland Police that I have no philosophical objection to bringing the organisation to an end," said Coun Houchen.

"I have reached the decision that if elected as the Mayor for Darlington, Teesside and Hartlepool, I would establish a commission to make recommendations to ministers on finding or establishing a successor body that could adequately replace it.

"Our area needs a police structure that does justice to the hugely important work of our front line police officers, who keep our local communities safe. They need to be supported by an organisation with credibility, which enjoys the full confidence of the local community.

"This is not about the people that work for Cleveland Police, but the structure that employs them.

"The organisation was established to be co-terminous with boundaries of Cleveland County Council during a local government review in the early 1970s. The structure is more than 40 years old and local boundaries have changed since then.

"We need to find a structure that has the scale and resources needed to tackle the considerable policing challenges of an urban area covering numerous different towns.

"I don’t expect the Government to take a view at the moment, but I would urge ministers not to make any long-term policy pledges that would bind them to the organisation’s future."