Cleveland Police removed from ‘special measures’

Cleveland Police has been removed from ‘special measures’ by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

Sep 20, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Chief Constable Mark Webster and PCC Steve Turner.

The force has been in an enhanced level of monitoring by the inspectorate since April 2019, when it was rated ‘inadequate’ in all areas.

Following a number of in-depth inspections over the past four and half years, it was recognised that there have been many “significant improvements” across the service delivery of Cleveland Police.

However, the latest review in October last year identified that two “causes of concern” remained in respect of preventing crime and anti-social behaviour; and strategic planning, organisational management and value for money.

In March this year, HMICFRS published these causes of concern in its 2021/22 PEEL assessment of Cleveland Police.

During a revisit last month, the inspectorate said it was satisfied that the force has now made “sufficient progress” to address those concerns.

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary Andy Cooke said he has decided to remove Cleveland Police from the ‘engage’ stage of monitoring after identifying a number of improvements, including:

  • Improving the coordination of prevention activity with the aim of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour;
  • Making better use of problem-solving techniques to make communities safer and reduce the force’s demand;
  • Better understanding of demand through comprehensive demand analysis; and
  • Fully coordinating financial and workforce plans to make sure resources are aligned to force priorities.

Mr Cooke said: “I am pleased with the progress that Cleveland Police has made so far. Whilst there is still more to do, I have decided to remove the force from our enhanced level of monitoring, known as engage, and return it to routine monitoring.

“I am reassured by the plans Cleveland Police has in place to continue making improvements.

“The force will be inspected again next year, when we will assess its progress to make sure the people of Cleveland are getting the service they deserve from their police force.”

Chief Constable Mark Webster said he was “very pleased” that Cleveland Police is no longer in special measures.

“Since joining Cleveland Police in April 2022, I have been committed to steering a clear pathway out of HMICFRS oversight,” he said. “I have also seen the commitment and determination of colleagues every day, striving to drive the force forward.

“I would like to publicly thank each and every officer, member of staff, volunteer, the senior leadership team and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for their hard work and dedication which has led us to this point.

“The team has shown professionalism and dedication in following our mission to ‘Protect People, Protect Communities, Tackle Criminals and Be The Best We Can Be’.”

Mr Webster  added: “Cleveland Police has the second highest rate of arrests nationally, crime has fallen over the summer this year compared to the previous 12 months, we have an above average solved crime rate for residential burglary, personal robbery, vehicle crime and theft from person, we’ve significantly improved the quality of prosecutions we put before the courts and are rated as one of the best forces nationally for this, and the force has the fourth fastest average answer time nationally for 999 calls.

“There are many more examples of how Cleveland Police has improved, however, we will not lose sight of the fact there is still much more to be done.

“Today we are celebrating this news and acknowledging Cleveland Police isn’t the same force it was in 2019, but this does not mean our hard work will stop.

“We will continue to push forward and embed sustainable improvement to deliver the best possible service to the public of Teesside.”

Cleveland’s police and crime commissioner Steve Turner said the chief constable’s “outstanding leadership” was one of the key reasons why the force is now in a positive position.

Mr Turner has formally written to local stakeholders expressing his thanks to Cleveland’s public, the force and his own team who have all played a part in getting to “this crucial point in the force’s improvement journey”.

The letter highlights that upon his election in May 2021, the force had not made any significant improvements on its 2019 inspection report which graded it as inadequate in all areas.

Mr Turner said: “I saw it as my duty to restore public confidence and pride in Cleveland Police by providing a clear strategic direction, increased accountability and greater support for the hard-working teams that form our organisation.”

In this letter, the PCC thanks the public for their support and his own team for reforming every aspect of their office, including strengthening the scrutiny and accountability process and implementing a unique independent complaints procedure.

He commended the chief constable and the new leadership team the force now has, adding: “Mark’s outstanding leadership and unwavering dedication are some of the key reasons why the force is in this positive position today.”

Mr Turner also singled out the newly-implemented local policing model and a better working environment for officers as other integral changes Mr Webster has made.

He acknowledges that these improvements set the key foundations that the force must now build on if it is to progress to being among the best in the country, and reaffirms his determination to see Cleveland Police be “a beacon for excellence and best practice where residents and businesses feel safe, secure in the knowledge that their force is one they can rely on and be proud of”.

The force has introduced a new performance framework referred to locally as ‘IMPACT’ (Improving and Managing Performance Across Cleveland Together).

‘IMPACT day’ occurs monthly and is chaired by the deputy chief constable. It brings senior leaders together from across the organisation, and maps force performance in the context of a victim or service user’s journey.

HMICFRS said it had found “strong evidence” of chief officers and senior leaders promoting problem-solving and evidence-based policing.

The force has also improved how it engages with partners in a problem-solving context.

“In our revisit, we found that the force has made a significant investment in its demand analysis.,” said HMICFRS. “Previous modelling only considered the number of incidents and the amount of officers available to handle them. The refreshed analysis has been developed to include geography, travel times, shift patterns, single/double crewing, time spent in attendance at incidents, and officer skills and training.”

The inspectorate said it was satisfied that the force has made sufficient progress to address concerns in relation to how it prevents crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as its strategic planning, organisational management and how it achieves value for money.

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