AN MP has called a government response 'disappointing' after raising concerns about Cleveland Police funding.

In a joint letter, Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham wrote to Home Secretary Sajid Javid with other Tees Labour MPs and Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger.

The letter expressed the group's concerns over grant funding for Cleveland Police after the force received the lowest grant increase in the country this year.

The Home Secretary's reply said: "I note your concerns and understand the pressures being face by Cleveland Police and other forces.

"I believe that Cleveland are receiving £132.7m in funding in 2019/20, and increase of £7.3m on 2018/19 and a total of £9.5m compared to 2017/18.

"It is right that we first consider what the overall envelope of funding is to the police before leading an exercise to determine how it should be distributed."

Mr Cunningham said: “While we’re pleased to finally get a response from the Home Secretary – and will be pushing for a meeting as soon as possible – the response itself is extremely disappointing. The length of time it took to receive such a derisory reply from the Home Secretary is indicative of this Government’s contempt for our area.

“We have some of the greatest social and economic challenges in the country, and Cleveland Police is dealing with an increase in demand while also seeing its funding slashed and resources decline. We know our police work extremely hard to keep our area safe – but it’s about time the Government supports them by giving them the funding they need.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said concerns for the force were well-founded.

He said: “I absolutely support calls from local MPs to secure more funding for our police force, however throwing money at Cleveland Police won’t solve all its problems.

“We’re now onto our sixth chief constable in as many years, in the past month alone nine officers have been suspended in a misconduct probe, and to top it off the National Crime Agency has launched an investigation into the assistant chief constable.

“Any new money for Cleveland Police must be matched with real, fundamental reform. New funding alone won’t solve police corruption, institutional racism and the illegal hacking of journalists’ phones.”