Today is a bittersweet day for the residents of the Cleveland force area after the release of the follow-up investigation report on the back of the one in 2019 that graded us as the worst Police force ever.
Sweet in respect of the fact that there is hope for the future and some green recovery shoots. We can see improvements in the forces approach to domestic violence situations and its support for its victims. There are strides forward in crime recording and the managing of suspects and offenders. The biggest win for me however is the vast improvement in the confidence the inspectorate has in the new executive and senior leadership team.
However, the scale of the problem is still immense. You just can't turn around an organisation in a matter of months that has consistently failed to have a structured plan to succeed with people who haven’t been held to account for their performance. Labours PCC, Barry Coppinger oversaw our forces decline, and then, when he was shown how bad it had got in 2019, he failed to put any plans in place to turn it around. This was a complete abdication of duty and it's no surprise that most of these improvements have happened now Labour no longer have an input into the oversight of our force.
We are years away from getting this right because of the state it's been left in and when I read that in 81 cases where children were identified as being at risk over three-quarters of those investigations were inadequate or required improvement. We're still not making improvements on our recording standards for violent crime and many other serious crimes are not being recorded or investigated with less than half the forces investigation being of a good overall standard.
Overall though I believe we must look at this report in a more positive than negative light. We will have a new PCC in May who must have a long-term plan that doesn’t just address these issues but takes us beyond average and on into excellent. We’ve laid some of those foundation stones and with a strong plan and new oversight and leadership, we can rebuild our force into something we can all be proud of again.