A MAYOR called for Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner to resign as “merry-go-round” of chief constables continues.

Ben Houchen has launched a scathing attack on Barry Coppinger in the wake of Mike Veale’s resignation as the controversial police chief faces an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The Northern Echo:

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger speaks to the media following the resignation of Mike Veale. Picture: North News & Pictures

Mr Veale was under investigation at his former force, Wiltshire Police, when he took over the top job in Cleveland – despite some reservations from political leaders.

Mr Houchen said: “Sadly, Mike Veale’s resignation was all but inevitable. This is why I refused to get involved in the appointment process only a small number of months ago. To appoint someone under investigation and under such a dark cloud nationally was more than a mistake – it was reckless and incompetent. I said this at the time but was shouted down by the Police Commissioner.

“The Chief Constable merry-go-round must come to an end and our Police Commissioner must resign. Until Mr Coppinger steps aside, Cleveland Police cannot recover. This force cannot improve under the abysmal leadership of Barry Coppinger, and if he had any respect for his officers or the public he would do the right thing by resigning and calling a by-election.

“We must have leadership in this uncertain time to make sure that officers feel supported, and Mr Coppinger has shown year-in, year-out that he is incapable of carrying out the role that he holds.

“I have today written to the Home Secretary to request an urgent meeting to discuss whether the Force as we know it should continue in its current form.”

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP added: “This is extraordinary news and hugely disappointing. I had hoped that Chief Constable Veale would be able to deliver a much-needed change of culture at Cleveland Police, but today those hopes have been dashed.

“In my 18 months as the MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, this is the second Chief Constable who has resigned. There are only so many of these incidents the hard-working officers and staff of the force should have to put up with, let alone the public they serve.

“I think we now need a root-and-branch review of the future of policing in Cleveland, with all options on the table.”