Simon Clarke MP would like to pay tribute to everyone in Lingdale who has come together in the face of the recent crime wave in the village - and thank everyone who has contacted him with evidence about this.
Simon welcomed the fact the main individual responsible was sentenced to jail yesterday and a member of his team will be attending the public meeting on Monday night (unfortunately key votes on Heathrow means he will need to be in Westminster).
Thanks to the hard work of Brotton Councillor Barry Hunt and local publican Graham Cutler of the Railway Arms Brotton, who have worked unbelievably hard to raise the profile of policing in East Cleveland, last week Simon held talks with the Chief Constable Mike Veale, the Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, local Inspectors from Guisborough NPT and Brotton and Loftus, Redcar And Cleveland, United Kingdom councillors.
The talks were really encouraging. As an MP it is sometimes tempting to talk about miracle solutions. Simon is not going to do that. What he is going to say is we have a Chief Constable we need to get behind - he set out a compelling, no nonsense prospectus for how we can get more police on the streets of East Cleveland over the months ahead.
This has various different aspects - more special constables, full computerisation so officers don’t constantly have to return to station to write things up, a cull of management and senior ranks to deliver more frontline officers and addressing the issues with sick leave that mean the Force is currently operating up to 100 officers under strength.
Simon hopes to deliver grown up politics. This week the Government has decided the NHS will receive a huge amount of additional funding over the next five years. That is great news, but it means we are going to have to ensure the current policing budget (£125m for Cleveland Police this year) delivers absolutely maximum value for money. There won’t be scope for huge increases.
So this means the Chief Constable’s turnaround plan really matters. He has delivered in Wiltshire before and he needs time to deliver for Cleveland. That means we are going to need to give him time to bring all this together, and support to help identify those people who make decent people’s lives a misery.
Mr Clarke has been honest too. He criticised the circumstances of Mr Veale’s appointment. He has convinced Simon he has a credible and deliverable plan to reform Cleveland Police. He has impressed and he has Simon's support.
This will not be easy. Crime, and the fear of crime, will continue to be a challenge for East Cleveland communities. But we are going to do everything we can do, together, to improve things. And we are going to have to place our trust in our Chief Constable and his team to take us to a much better place over the years ahead.
(A photo of the meeting is below)