Cleveland Police force 'in special measures'

Cleveland Police headquarters, Middlesbrough Image copyright PA
Image caption Cleveland's working practices have been described as "inefficient"

Cleveland Police is to be put into special measures after an inspection by the police watchdog.

The force was inspected by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services in May.

The Inspectorate issued an early draft of its report to Cleveland Police, and the move was revealed by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

Chief Constable Richard Lewis informed local leaders the force will "enter the national oversight process".

Cleveland Police has been hit by scandals in recent years including accusations of hacking journalists' phones and officer misconduct.

Image copyright Evening Gazette
Image caption Cleveland Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said he would try to provide more staff

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said he would try to ensure the force got more police officers, but Conservative Mr Houchen called for Labour's Mr Coppinger to resign.

"Under the leadership of the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner we've had journalists' phones being hacked, we've had accusations of institutional racism, we've had millions of pounds worth of compensation paid out, we've had more chief constables than I've had hot dinners", Mr Houchen said.

"This is beyond tragic. This is an organisation whose main purpose is to uphold the law and to protect the public and it is patently failing at both.

"It's now so serious that for the Police and Crime Commissioner not to resign would be an embarrassment for the force and for Barry personally."

Mr Lewis said: "As an organisation we've identified that our performance is not good enough.

"We're being honest with our communities about the scale of change necessary.

"This is a big piece of work and we do not underestimate the challenges ahead of us.

"We must also be clear that, based on what we have seen, this is not simply about a lack of resources. It's about how these resources are being used."

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