'Significant progress' of Cleveland Police praised by inspectors after the force was placed under special measures

Cleveland Police headquarters

Inspectors have praised Cleveland Police for improvements that were seen during a recent inspection. 

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), visited the Force in May 2021 to look at progress on a number of areas for improvement.

Cleveland Police was put into special measures in August 2019 following an inspection by the police watchdog.

The force entered a 'national oversight process' to support it in a programme of improvement after an inspection by HMICFRS in May 2019. The force has been dogged by a series of high profile scandals over the last 20 years and has seen numerous changes in its leadership.

Since 2019 - the force has worked to progress and improve.

The latest HMICFRS inspection in May this year resulted in a number of 'problem areas' being signed-off, meaning that inspectors could see that there was significant progress.

The inspection covered the workforce, communication and fair treatment. The inspection found that:

  • Cleveland Police has a better understanding of how well it engages with officers to create an informed, engaged and ethical workforce.

  • The workforce has a better understanding of what is happening, and that communication with the workforce is good and valued.

  • Staff understand the clear vision and direction of the Towards 2025 plan and any change happening in their area of work.

  • Grievance handling times have been improved.

  • There is better understanding of the risks and threats to the wellbeing of the workforce and there is more organisational oversight to allow for early intervention and support.

  • The performance of the workforce is better understood, and any poor performance is being dealt with consistently and fairly.

  • Improvements have been made to the promotion process, including ensuring ethical processes. Promotion opportunities are clearly communicated, and people better understand the opportunities available.

Cleveland Police HQ Credit: PA

The inspection found that the Force needs to continue to involve the workforce in decision making and to identify and support people with the potential to become senior leaders.

In a letter to Chief Constable Richard Lewis, Andy Cooke QPM, said:

"I am pleased with the progress that has been made, and that this is reflected in the workforce’s experiences. While we have continually monitored progress, this is the first time we have formally reviewed the force’s result."

Cleveland Police's Chief Constable Richard Lewis has just qualified with a PhD in ethical leadership. It's thought his knowledge in the area could have contributed to the force's improvements.

He said: “Our improvement journey continues at a steady pace; this is a marathon for us not a sprint and what’s important to me is that we get it right first time.