Tees

New Cleveland Police chief planning 'for the long term'

Richard Lewis Image copyright Cleveland Police
Image caption Richard Lewis said he already had a five-year plan for the force

Cleveland Police's fifth chief constable in just six years has said he wants to stay with the force "for the long term".

Richard Lewis was the preferred candidate of Cleveland's police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger.

He was formerly deputy chief constable of Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales.

Mr Lewis said his top priority was to rebuild confidence among rank-and-file officers and strengthen neighbourhood policing teams.

He replaces the force's previous chief constable Mike Veale, who resigned in January after less than a year in post.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mike Veale quit Cleveland Police in January

Mr Lewis said: "I have noticed after arriving in Cleveland and speaking to a number of officers and staff, that confidence is something that's been lacking.

"That confidence is something I need to build as a chief constable.

"That might be as a result of hangovers from previous chief constables or senior leaders. But my plan is to build that self-confidence as a whole."

Welsh-speaking Mr Lewis, from Carmarthenshire, said he had drawn up a five-year plan focussed on strengthening neighbourhood policing teams.

He said his belief was that there was "nothing fundamentally wrong with Cleveland Police", adding: "If I thought there was I would have run for the hills in Wales."

Mr Coppinger said: "From the outset Richard displayed a deep understanding of the challenges facing Cleveland Police.

"He has previous experience in upholding high levels of professional standards and has demonstrated a clear commitment to diversity and inclusion.

"I believe Richard will provide the long-term inspirational leadership needed to drive the Force forward."

Mr Lewis joined the Dyfed-Powys force as a police constable in 2000.

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