Saturday 21st September 2019,
North Yorks Enquirer

Cleveland Police: NYE Vindicated

September 10, 2019 Letters, Police

Cleveland Police: NYE Vindicated

A Letter to the Editor from the Enquirer’s police and crime correspondent TIM HICKS, reiterating his call for the abolition of a failed Police Force that is far beyond rehabilitation.

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Sir,

In my article Cleveland Police a Force in Trouble, I laid out the long catalogue of scandals that has plagued this force and called for reform:

“The following conclusions are inescapable:

  1. These abuses appear to be institutionalised in the culture of the force.
  1. It is a force that its Chief Officers are unable to reform.

 Cleveland Police was formed in 1974 as an amalgamation of Teesside Constabulary with part of the York and North East Yorkshire Police and part of Durham Constabulary. Other than the unique area of 1.1. square miles covered by the City of London Police, its police area is the smallest geographically in the UK. The individual operational areas (BBC report here), Dog Sections and serious crime investigations (Yorkshire Post article here) of North Yorkshire, Cleveland and Durham police forces are merged as part of their Evolve Programme to “save money and become more efficient”.

It would be difficult enough to justify the expense of maintaining a force headquarters, Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable and Assistant Chief Constables for such a small force which has merged many of its functions into its two neighbours, even without the constant stream of corruption scandals. Under the present circumstances, it is impossible. 

The only effective solution to obtain efficiencies and higher professional standards from Cleveland Police is root and branch reform. That is, to merge Cleveland Police with Durham Constabulary or split it between North Yorkshire Police and Durham.

This was followed by another article on another scandal Another Cleveland Police Sex and Corruption Scandal and then support for my views from an unexpected quarter: UK Police Reform. Police Chiefs support NYE.”

Now it appears that the Home Office has also concluded that Cleveland Police is a force that its Chief Officers are unable to reform” because it has now been placed under special measures after a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). BBC report here.

It has now had monitoring conditions placed on it under the ‘national oversight process’ to support it in a programme of improvement. It appears that HMICFRS have very properly stepped in to exercise closer oversight over the force, instead of leaving this to its own Chief Officers.

I feel very sorry for the ordinary policemen of Cleveland Police, who have been let down by a string of inadequate senior officers. I remain convinced that only amalgamation with Durham Constabulary will lead to reform.

In the meantime, the IOPC’s Operation Forbes is continuing. So far, nine serving or retired officers have been accused of gross misconduct in connection with allegations of discrimination against fellow officers and misuse of surveillance powers to intercept journalists phones.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Hicks

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