Cleveland Police: Acting chief constable named as search for leader goes on

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New Acting Chief Constable Helen McMillanImage source, Cleveland Police
Image caption,
Deputy Chief Constable Helen McMillan has taken over as acting head of Cleveland Police

A temporary chief constable has been appointed at Cleveland Police after the search for a seventh leader in nine years failed to find a suitable candidate.

Deputy Chief Constable Helen McMillan has taken over from Richard Lewis who left after two years at the helm to take over Dyfed-Powys Police.

Ms McMillan said she was proud to be given the chance to lead the force.

She moved to Cleveland Police to take up the deputy role in July 2020.

Mr Lewis joined Cleveland after Mike Veale resigned in January 2019 after less than a year in the post.

He was tasked with turning around the force's fortunes but just one month after he started Cleveland Police was placed in special measures.

It was the first force in the country to be declared as failing.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services warned it had been "putting the public at risk" with staff telling the watchdog it was "directionless, rudderless and clueless".

Earlier this year, Mr Lewis said he wanted to return to Wales, where he had served as deputy chief constable of Dyfed-Powys, to be closer to his family.

Image source, Cleveland Police
Image caption,
Richard Lewis left his chief constable role at Cleveland Police on Sunday

Steve Turner, Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner, said the process to find a preferred, new chief constable had reopened and prospective candidates had until 12 January to apply.

Ms McMillan, a former assistant chief constable at Northumbria Police, said: "I'm proud to work for Cleveland Police and proud to have been given this opportunity to lead the force over the next few months."

The force covers areas including Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and Middlesbrough.

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