'We are here to serve the most vulnerable in our communities': New Cleveland Police chief constable aims to build 'an outstanding public service'

Richard Lewis with Cleveland Police and crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.
Richard Lewis with Cleveland Police and crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

Cleveland Police's new chief constable Richard Lewis has committed himself to protecting the most vulnerable communities and making a real difference in people’s lives.

In his first week as Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Richard Lewis has asked officers and staff to remember why they, like him, joined the police service.

“We are here to serve the most vulnerable in our communities – they need us,” said Richard. “We must demand the best of each other.

"I chose to work at Cleveland Police for some of the same reasons other officers did; to work with those communities that need outstanding public services more than most.

"There is no better police service to join than Cleveland if you want to make a difference to people’s lives.

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“My role, and that of all our officers and staff, is to focus on the needs of our communities.

"I have committed to spending as much time as possible with communities, partners and front-line staff to make sure we do all we can to make lives better.”

Richard has also committed to improving the welfare and care of officers and staff stating that “better wellbeing for our staff translates to a better service to the public”.

“There are officers and staff working in this area the equal of people I’ve worked with elsewhere in this country and internationally. That confidence in our ability is something I need to build as a Chief Constable,” he continued.

“I have already seen a determined commitment across Cleveland Police to making positive change and this will be the foundation on which we will build an outstanding public service and a confident, forward looking, workforce.”

His appointment comes after recent high-profile exposure of crime and policing in Hartlepool by the national media including Channel 4’s controversial Skint Britain series.

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

The force has also faced the impact of government police cuts resulting in the reduction of 500 posts in Cleveland since 2010.

Mr Lewis took office on Saturday, April 27, having served as a police officer with Dyfed Powys Police since 2000.

He is originally from Carmarthenshire in west Wales and has worked in a variety of roles in uniform and CID as well as working as the head of the Professional Standards Department.

He served in every rank up to (and including) T/Deputy Chief Constable at Dyfed Powys.

In 2010 CC Lewis gained a Fulbright Scholarship, a prestigious educational programme at Pennsylvania State University and New York Police Department, where he studied Taser use in the USA.

Richard also guest edited the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 in 2007.

In July 2018, Richard was appointed the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Lead for ‘Age Related Matters’ within the wider Diversity Portfolio.