Cleveland Police’s new Chief Constable has been confirmed.
Welshman Richard Lewis is the new top cop at the force after he was unanimously backed by councillors on the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel.
Mr Lewis will take up his post from Monday, April 29.
Mr Lewis was the preferred candidate of Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger – whittled down from seven applicants on the back of a set of interviews, personality tests and tools devised with the help of the College of Policing.
The deputy chief constable at Dyfed-Powys Police fielded questions on everything from his mining heritage, PCSOs and neighbourhood policing on Tuesday night.
And the chief-in-waiting stressed he was in it for the long haul more than once during the hour long hearing – adding he was keen to instil more confidence in both the wider public and within the force’s ranks.
He also said he wanted to stay the course of his five year contract.
“I hope I’m here for longer than that,” said Mr Lewis.
Councillors unanimously backed Mr Lewis as the new chief.
Coun Norma Stephenson, chairwoman of the crime panel, told the meeting she’d seen six chief constables in her time on the panel.
On the back of officially giving Mr Lewis the job, she said: “The panel raised a number of questions and issues which were answered fully by Richard and we were unanimous in our view that he should be Cleveland’s Chief Constable.
“We look forward to a long working relationship with him in delivering the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan.”
A Welsh speaker from Carmarthenshire, Mr Lewis joined Dyfed-Powys Police in 2000 – working his way up the ranks over the past two decades.
The grandson of two miners, he spent six months on an educational programme at Pennsylvania State University and the New York Police Department.
He is also studying for a PhD in covert policing and is the police leader of PCSOs in Wales.
Mr Coppinger was delighted Mr Lewis had been given the thumbs up.
He added: “From the outset Richard displayed a deep understanding of the challenges facing Cleveland Police and impressed every panel he met with his clear vision of organisational development and strategic direction for the force.
“He has previous experience in upholding high levels of professional standards and has demonstrated a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“I believe Richard will provide the long-term inspirational leadership needed to drive the force forward on its journey of organisational and cultural transformation and I look forward to working closely with him over at least the next five years in building Cleveland Police’s bright future.”
Chief Constable Richard Lewis added: “I grew up in a steel town and feel the communities and people here are very familiar to me.
“I am beyond proud to have been selected to serve as Chief Constable and am committed to working for our communities over the long term.
“My focus now is Cleveland Police.”
Alex Metcalfe , Local Democracy Reporting Service