TWO of the prospective candidates looking to take on the Police and Crime Commissioner mantel at Cleveland Police have responded to the force's latest inspection report.

Labour candidate Dr Paul Williams and Steve Turner, standing as a Conservative, have reacted to the news that the HMICFSR has told the force it is making improvements 18 months after being rated 'inadequate' in all areas inspected.

Following a re-inspection the force was praised for making improvement but warned there was still work required.

Former Stockton South MP Dr Williams said nothing was more important than protecting vulnerable people, especially children.

He added: “This report shows that Cleveland Police is improving, but there’s still some way to go until it’s good enough.

“Credit is due to everyone at Cleveland Police who have worked hard to get this far."

His Labour predecessor stood down last September after facing calls to resign following the devastating inspection report in 2019.

Mr Turner, who will represent the Conservatives at the polls in May, said: "We can see improvements in the force’s approach to domestic violence situations and its support for its victims.

“There are strides forward in crime recording and the managing of suspects and offenders.

“And the biggest win for me however is the vast improvement in the confidence the inspectorate has in the new executive and senior leadership team.”

Lisa Oldroyd has been working as acting Police and Crime Commissioner since Mr Coppinger's resignation.

And Labour's Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham added: "Now they have to build on the progress made, and it is important they are both encouraged to do so and held to account locally every day."