Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Am in This for the Long Term; New Chief Constable Intends to Stay 'Significantly Longer Than Initial 5-Year Contract

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I Am in This for the Long Term; New Chief Constable Intends to Stay 'Significantly Longer Than Initial 5-Year Contract

Article excerpt

Byline: KEANE DUNCAN keane.duncan@reachplc.com @KeaneDunc

RICHARD Lewis insists he is here to stay.

Cleveland Police's new chief constable promises to buck the trend and stick around.

He is the force's fifth chief constable in just six years.

Former geography teacher Mr Lewis joins from Daffyd Powys Police, replacing Mike Veale who resigned facing misconduct allegations after just 10 months in the job. Mr Lewis promises to be here "significantly longer" than five years and pledges to work hard to re-build 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 told us. "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 the bright future which I know it has."

He praised Cleveland's "incredible people" and "incredible communities", likening our sense of humour and community to his hometown back in Wales.

"There is a temptation to jump straight to action," said Mr Lewis.

"But the first thing I 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 our 15-minute sit down at the Community Safety Hub in Hemlington is that he is here for the long term.

His contract, set by Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, is five years long.

But he told us that he is intending to be here "significantly longer" than that. …

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