Cleveland Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the area of former county of Cleveland in north east England. The Cleveland Police area covers approximately 230 square miles (600 km2) and has a population of over 554,000.

Cleveland Police
Agency overview
Formed1 April 1974
Preceding agencies
Annual budget£95.4 million[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCleveland, England
England Police Forces (Cleveland).svg
Map of police area
Size595 km²
Legal jurisdictionEngland & Wales
Constituting instrument
General nature
Police Officers1,198[1]
Police Community Support Officers130[1]
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive
Local Policing AreasHartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees

As of September 2017, the force had 1,274 police officers, 278 police staff, 124 police community support officers and 64 special constables.[3] In terms of officer numbers, Cleveland Police is the 12th smallest of the 48 police forces of the United Kingdom. Geographically, its area of responsibility is the second smallest of the territorial police forces with only the City of London Police having a smaller police area.

Cleveland Police area is divided into four local policing areas (LPAs), previously known as districts, which are coterminous with the four unitary authorities of Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees. These LPAs are split between North and South of the River Tees for operational purposes. The force is responsible for policing a predominantly urban, densely populated area, closely resembling metropolitan authorities in socio-economic characteristics and policing needs.

The Cleveland Criminal Justice Area is a major production centre for the chemical industry, which results in the large-scale transport by road, rail and sea of hazardous substances. The chemical industry remains a key economic factor and presents the force, other emergency services and partners with a significant major incident risk.


The force was established as Cleveland Constabulary on 1 April 1974, covering the newly created county of Cleveland (which was abolished on 1 April 1996, being replaced with the four unitary authorities). It was renamed Cleveland Police, from Cleveland Constabulary.

It is a successor to the Teesside Constabulary, and also the York and North East Yorkshire Police, which existed before 1974, and also took over part of Durham Constabulary. The police area is the second smallest geographically, after the area covered by the City of London Police.

Under proposals made by the Home Secretary on 6 February 2006, a proposal for a merger with Northumbria Police and Durham Constabulary to form a single strategic police force for the North East England was suggested but there was no support for this. Cleveland Police favoured merging with the southern area of Durham Constabulary.[4] In July 2006, the plans to merge the three forces were scrapped.


On 31 January 2007, the new headquarters in Middlesbrough were opened, boasting a 50-cell custody unit including a purpose-built prevention of terrorism suite, one of only three in the country. It has been designed to increase the speed and safety of detainee handling with secure vehicle docking, video links to court and CCTV links in all cells for improved prisoner safety.

The Middlesbrough headquarters is the centrepiece of Cleveland Police Authority's multi-million pound private finance initiative project which has also seen a new headquarters for Redcar and Cleveland district and new town offices in Redcar and South Bank. The building, which was officially opened by the then Home Secretary John Reid, is seen as not only the spearhead to policing Cleveland in the 21st century but also the gateway to the regeneration of the St Hilda's area of the town and the flagship Middlehaven project.[5]

In 2008 Cleveland Police launched its volunteer scheme, by which members of the local community can offer a minimum of 4 hours a week helping the force. As the scheme progresses more roles are expected to become available.

On 5 January 2009 the force launched its cadets programme, something which many other police forces have operated for some years. There are 20 places available in each district, and the cadets will meet each week in groups run by Police Officers, Police Community Support Officers, Youth Workers and Volunteers. There will also be the chance to gain recognised qualifications, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Since 2010 Cleveland Police and neighbouring Durham Constabulary have shared road policing and firearms teams through a joint Specialist Operations Unit. These officers are based at Cleveland's base at Wynyard Park Business Park and Durham's station in Spennymoor.[6] Durham and Cleveland Police have shared a Tactical Training Centre in Urlay Nook, near Durham Tees Valley Airport, since 2001.

In January 2019, Chief Constable Mike Veale resigned after being referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) on a matter of "serious allegations" of misconduct.[7] In April 2019 it was reported that Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Roberts had been arrested. It is not clear for what criminal offence, however reports suggest it relates to an offence outside of England & Wales. Following his arrest Roberts was suspended whilst a gross misconduct discipline investigation took place.[8]

In September 2019, the Cleveland police force was put into special measures after Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services rated the service as inadequate overall and in three key areas: the extent to which the force is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe; operates efficiently and sustainably; and treats the public and its workforce legitimately were all found inadequate.[9][10]


In 2007 it was reported that Detective Constable Steve Pennington who was convicted of a drink driving offence in 2000, and subsequently jailed for four months, had been granted a £500,000 pay off by the force, garnering much criticism from members of the public and anti drink driving campaigns.[11][12]

In April 2012, Cleveland Police admitted liability for "malicious prosecution" and were ordered to pay out over £841,000, one of the largest compensation sums in UK police history. The court was told former PC Sultan Alam was "stitched up" by fellow officers after he launched industrial tribunal proceedings in 1993, complaining of racial discrimination following a series of incidents that included a Ku Klux Klan poster being left on his desk. Cleveland Police admitted that officers suppressed evidence that lead to Mr Alam being wrongfully imprisoned for conspiracy to steal motor parts and enduring a 17-year battle to clear his name.[13] Mr Alam, who was, as of 2012, considering a position in public office, did not believe that the force had improved and stated that racism had gone "underground", with ethnic minorities being denied the same opportunities as their white colleagues.[14]

In August 2012 it was reported that an unnamed officer from the force was on Police bail after being arrested on suspicion of carrying out 'substandard' work, potentially undermining 90 criminal cases and also perverting the course of justice.[15] The Independent Police Complaints Commission was apparently investigating the claims.

In October 2012 the force's Chief Constable, Sean Price, was sacked after being found guilty of deceit and misconduct. He was dismissed from his £190,000 a year job (one of the highest rates in the country for a Chief Constable), having been suspended in August 2011 on full pay.[16][17][18]

In May 2013, Cleveland Police agreed to pay a settlement of £550,000 to James Watson, a Middlesbrough solicitor who sued them for false imprisonment after being detained for almost 30 hours.[19]

In 2019 Cleveland Police was rated inadequate in all fields, and the police watchdog accused the force of, "putting the public at risk." There have been five chief constables since 2012. Staff described the force as, "directionless, rudderless and clueless". Vulnerable people including children were not identified and left at risk. Despite large numbers of domestic abuse victims being repeat victims offenders were not always proactively pursued. There were delays before police tried to locate youngsters reported missing. Some victims of honour-based violence and survivors allegedly had had a "terrible experience". Crime rose 17.6% in the year to 2019 but according to the watchdog, "crime prevention isn't a priority for the force and this is a cause of concern". The quality of investigations needs improvement, the watchdog maintains. High-ranking officers and staff were in many cases, "not taking responsibility" and some were "not acting with honesty, integrity and competence". Cleveland police is in the, “special measures” police equivalent, after a report showing the force failed to prevent crime, protect the public, apprehend criminals or deal with internal corruption.[20] [21]

Chief ConstablesEdit

  • 1974–1976 : Ralph Davison[22]
  • 1976–1990 : Christopher Payne[22]
  • 1990–1993 : Keith Hellawell[22]
  • 1993–2003 : Barry D. Shaw[23]
  • 2003–2012 : Sean Price, (dismissed for gross misconduct)[24]
  • 2013-2016 : Jacqui Cheer
  • 2016–2018 : Iain Spittal[25]
  • 2018–2019 : Mike Veale[7]
  • 2019 : Lee Freeman (Interim Chief Constable following Mike Veale's sudden departure)
  • 2019-Current: Richard Lewis

Officers killed in the line of dutyEdit

The Police Roll of Honour Trust[26] lists and commemorates all British police officers killed in the line of duty.

Since 1893 the following officers of Cleveland Police were killed while attempting to prevent or stop a crime in progress:[27]

  • Police Constable William Henderson, 1893 (shot attempting to disarm a man).

Force helicopterEdit

Cleveland was a member of the North East Air Support Unit helicopter sharing agreement with neighbouring Durham Constabulary and Northumbria Police in which all three forces shared two helicopters, one based at Newcastle Airport and the other at Durham Tees Valley Airport.

In 2008 Durham and Northumbria decided that just one helicopter based at Newcastle Airport would be enough. Cleveland disagreed saying that this resource would be based many miles away from Cleveland and would leave it at a disadvantage, and would not agree to the proposal.

As a result, Durham and Northumbria decided to leave the consortium of the three forces, leaving Cleveland to fund its own helicopter costing £500,000.

On 1 April 2009, the former North East Air Support Unit agreement officially ended, and the Cleveland Air Operations Unit was formed.[28] Cleveland Police have released a website of what the helicopter has been attending to.

Poor performanceEdit

On 27 September 2019 it was reported that Cleveland Police had been "operating without a clear plan or direction" and was "putting the public at risk".[29] The report from the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said that there are "concerns the chief constable is unable to trust the information he receives" from senior officers.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Structure". Retrieved 18 May 2013.[failed verification]
  2. ^ "Police grant report 2013 to 2014".
  3. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales: 30 September 2017". GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Police mergers outlined by Clarke". BBC News. 6 February 2006. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  5. ^ Cleveland Police. "Page Not Found". Archived from the original on 14 July 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2007.
  6. ^ "Forces agree single firearms teams". Cleveland Police. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  7. ^ a b Hetherington, Graeme (21 January 2019). "Mike Veale resigns from position as Cleveland Police Chief Constable". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  8. ^ Cleveland Police would not say why the ACC had been arrested nor reveal the allegations made against him. Daily Telegraph 19 April 2019 'Scandal-ridden police force has chief arrested for misconduct' page 11
  9. ^ "Cleveland police branded 'failing' in all areas by inspectors". BBC News. 27 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Cleveland 2018/19". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Jailed cop's £½m pay-off | The Sun |News". London: The Sun. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  12. ^ Stokes, Paul (1 December 2000). "Detective is jailed for drink-driving". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  13. ^ Carter, Helen (16 April 2012). "Former police officer wins £840,000 compensation after 'stitch-up'". London. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  14. ^ Carter, Helen (18 April 2012). "Cleveland police force 'institutionally racist' in way it treats staff, says report". Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  15. ^ Anna Edwards (28 August 2012). "Cleveland Police: Scenes of crime police officer 'carried out sub-standard work' in up to 90 investigations over a 15-year period | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  16. ^ Chris Greenwood (5 October 2012). "Sean Price: Chief constable of Cleveland Police faces the sack after being found guilty of gross misconduct | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  17. ^ Peter Walker and Vikram Dodd (5 October 2012). "Cleveland police chief sacked for 'shameful' misconduct | UK news |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  18. ^ Peachey, Paul (4 January 2016). "Police 'used terror powers to spy on officers blowing whistle on racism'". The Independent.
  19. ^ Urquhart, Conal (11 May 2013). "Solicitor wins £550,000 for false imprisonment". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  20. ^ Britain’s first failing police force may not be the last The Independent
  21. ^ Cleveland Police: Five key failings at crisis-hit force BBC
  22. ^ a b c "History of Cleveland Police". Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  23. ^ "Chief Police Officers". House of Commons. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Police chief sacked after inquiry". BBC News. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Ethics in Policing: Iain Spittal, Chief Constable, Cleveland Police". Durham University Business School. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  26. ^ Police Roll of Honour Trust. "Police Roll of Honour Trust".
  27. ^ "Police Roll of Honour Trust - Cleveland Police". Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  28. ^ "Date is set for police helicopter". 24 May 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  29. ^

External linksEdit