A united front

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OVER the last 12 months I’ve attended around 100 community meetings in the 82 wards across Cleveland - to explain my role and responsibilities and listen to priorities and concerns of residents which are then followed up.

My intention is to repeat this engagement process annually.

Particularly encouraging has been meeting with police officers and PCSOs and hearing first hand the high value residents across Cleveland place on their work, backed up by other parts of Cleveland Police and by other organisations and individuals, to tackle crime and disorder.

Under such circumstances it is disappointing, to say the least, that government has been reducing the grant to support policing.

From 2010 to 2016 there will be equivalent to a 25 per cent reduction in our budget.

This also takes no account of additional responsibilities placed on policing, and the effect of government austerity and other policies, eg. welfare reform, cuts to councils’ funding, potentially privatising probation services, and the widening scope of what is defined as anti-social behaviour, can have on increasing the incidence of crime and disorder.

On behalf of 2,000 or so police officers, staff, PCSOs and others who work alongside Cleveland Police - and half a million or so residents in Cleveland - I have written to the Home Secretary to draw her attention to our budget concerns, invite her to reconsider future years’ cuts, and visit Cleveland to see the valuable work going on.

I have asked our six local MPs for their support.

This, further background and much other information, is available on www.cleveland.pcc.police.uk.

I’ve had swift and supportive responses from four of our local MPs so far: Alex Cunningham, Andy McDonald, Iain Wright and Tom Blenkinsop.

I very much hope we can get all six MPs working together on our behalf, ensuring a united front for Teesside, on the important issue of safety across all our communities.

Barry Coppinger,

Police & Crime Commissioner for Cleveland,

Cleveland Police.