New Cleveland Police chief pledges to make catching burglars a priority in Hartlepool

The new Chief Constable of Cleveland Police has vowed to do all the force can to tackle burglary after Hartlepool was revealed as a national blackspot for the crime.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 06:00 am
Richard Lewis Chief Constable Cleveland Police Force and Police Commissioner Barry Coppinger walking around the town centre area of Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The Mail reported last week how the town has one of the highest burglary rates of burglary in the country, after 784 household break-ins in 2018 – an average of more than two a day.

Richard Lewis, who was recently appointed as the new Chief Constable of Cleveland Police said the issue will be a priority to respond to where resources allow and to see offenders arrested and brought to justice.

Mr Lewis said: “Burglary is one of those offences which is truly invasive.

“It’s not always at home addresses but often are. It is the place where people deserve to feel safest of all which is their home address and we at Cleveland Police understand the concern of communities up and down the area, Hartlepool and elsewhere, and it clearly will be a priority for us to respond where we can and take positive action, arrest and convict offenders.”

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The Office of National Statistics figures showed Hartlepool had one of the highest burglary rates per 1,000 people in England and Wales.

As well as people’s homes, they include unoccupied properties, garages, sheds, and allotment break-ins.

Mr Lewis said he would push for greater funding for the force by making the case to police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger.

But he said they need to focus on using their existing resources as efficiently as possible.

In December, former Chief Constable Mike Veale said the force’s funding settlement from the government ‘significantly hampered’ the ability to provide appropriate resources.

Mr Lewis said: “Of course I’ll be making that bid, but we need to focus on the resources that we have today and how we can best utilise those to be as efficient a force as we possibly can and to ensure that we spend every penny of taxpayers’ money the way that it should be spent.”