Chief constable says he’s in post for the long haul
LLANELLI’S Richard Lewis insists he is in the north of England to stay.
Cleveland Police’s new chief constable promises to buck the trend and stick around.
He is the North East of England force’s fifth chief constable in just six years.
Ex-geography teacher Mr Lewis joins from Dyfed-Powys Police, replacing Mike Veale, who resigned facing misconduct allegations after 10 months in the job.
Mr Lewis promises to be here “significantly longer” than five years, and pledges to work hard to rebuild public trust.
Could his appointment finally be the break scandal-hit Cleveland Police needs?
”I bring nothing with me from my past,” the 43-year-old said. “I can assure leadership of high integrity.”
He insists he is looking forwards rather than back at the force’s decades of problems.
“What I’m going to focus on is not the history of Cleveland Police but
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He praised Cleveland’s “incredible people” and “incredible communities”, likening their sense of humour and community to his home town in Wales.
”There is a temptation to jump straight to action,” said Mr Lewis.
“But the first thing need to do is listen.
“It’s only when we have determined what our future should be that action should follow.”
But he did hint at greater investment in neighbourhood policing, a focus on Teesside’s most vulnerable people and a return to “local bobbies” on the beat.
The keen social media user also wants to build a visible online presence, claiming the internet has become a “new city” in need of policing.
The chief’s key message in a 15-minute sit down at the Community Safety Hub in Hemlington is that Five Roads
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Bethel, Cefncaeau he is in Cleveland for the long-term.
His contract, set by Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, is five years long.
But he said that he is intending to be in the area, which includes Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, “significantly longer”.
He thinks “longevity of leadership” and “continuity of vision” will be vital, and said the public should judge him on his record.
Lewis grew up in LlanCommunity of Christ (Trostre Road) elli. He started his career as a geography teacher, a role that ignited his passion for service.
“I always wanted to work in the public services,” he said. “Teaching was a way into that. I had the opportunity to work with disadvantaged students. But I felt I wanted to do even more to help.”
Self-described as “working class”, he said his priority was aiding those who need it most.
He had a message for crime victims who feel let down: “I want to hear from you. I don’t want anyone to suffer in silence.
“If you feel you haven’t received the service they deserve from Cleveland Police, you can contact my office.”
Rebuilding public faith in Cleveland Police is going to be a mammoth job, and Mr Lewis has a big job ahead.
“I would ask that people judge me in five years’ time that I stayed, invested in our area and delivered,” he added.
“I can only deliver if I’m here for five years. The proof will be in the pudding.”
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Richard Lewis of Llanelli, Cleveland Police chief constable.