New Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner vows to restore Hartlepool Custody Suite
Conservative Steve Turner has become Cleveland’s new Police and Crime Commissioner after he swept to victory in the election for the post.
Mr Turner received more than half of the total first preference votes cast with 74,023 votes, with Labour’s Matthew Storey, who replaced Paul Williams as the party’s candidate, coming second having received 39,467 votes.
Barrie Cooper, an independent Middlesbrough councillor and former Cleveland Police officer, came third with 16,667 votes and Redcar Liberal Democrat councillor Chris Jones trailed in last with 6,540 votes.
Mr Turner replaces Lisa Oldroyd, who was acting Cleveland PCC following the resignation of Labour’s Barry Coppinger in September last year.
He will be responsible for developing a Police and Crime Plan for the Cleveland area and work with Chief Constable Richard Lewis.
The election, which had a turnout of 33.7%, had been re-arranged after a postponement in May last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his victory speech, Mr Turner, who campaigned with the slogan ‘more police, safer streets’, said there was vital work to be done in putting Cleveland Police back on track to becoming an excellent police force, and he now had a mandate from the public.
He said: “We will put more officers back on the streets and get the dealers out of our communities.
“It is a mandate to reduce anti-social behaviour and increase opportunities for our young people so they are safe from the lure of crime.
“With this mandate as your commissioner together we will put the pride back in Cleveland Police.”
He said he would be “hitting the ground running”, adding: “The public of Cleveland have given me a real clear mandate to deliver on what I have been promising for 18 months.
“We will come down hard on drugs, we are going to tackle anti-social behaviour and restore a custody suite in Hartlepool.
“We can make these things happen quite quickly.
“I will be speaking with the chief constable and talk about the resources he needs to be able to deliver on what I have promised and set out a clear direction.”
The cells at the police station in Avenue Road were mothballed in early 2019 and Cleveland Police announced earlier in the year it had launched a review on their future.
Mr Turner said he hoped he would have a “professional, honest and open” relationship with Mr Lewis and also referred to “legacy issues” at the force, which over the years has been beset by various scandals and failures.
He said: “I need to get from Richard a clear understanding of any ongoing problems we have in the force because these legacy issues haven’t all gone away, where we are at with them, how we expect to conclude them, and more importantly what we are doing to make sure they don’t happen again.
“I will be challenging him and I assume he will also be challenging me – he is the professional, he will say what he needs and it’s my job to ensure he and his officers have the resources to do the job.”
Mr Turner said over the years public trust and confidence in the force had deteriorated and that needed to be changed and said when people started seeing results that would come back.