FOUR candidates are standing in the election to be appointed the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.

The three main political parties have put forward a candidate while an independent former police officer has also added his name to the ballot paper.

Labour have previously held the role since its introduction in 2012 before Barry Coppinger's sudden resignation last year.

The outbreak of Covid delayed the election but the road to policing democracy takes centre stage on Thursday, May 6.

Here we take a look at all four candidates.

Matt Storey, Labour

The Middlesbrough councillor was a late replacement for former Stockton South MP Dr Paul Williams, who pulled out of the race to stand for election in the Hartlepool parliamentary constituency.

Cllr Storey has been a member of the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel for the past two years.

He says he has six key pledges - including a named community police officer in every ward, the creation of a violent crime reduction unit to deal with knife crime, and a vow to reopen police cells in Hartlepool.

He says he has six key pledges - including a named community police officer in every ward, the creation of a violent crime reduction unit to deal with knife crime, and a vow to reopen police cells in Hartlepool.

He said: "Since 2010 the Conservatives have cut tens of millions from the budget of Cleveland Police, leading to the loss of over 500 police officers from our streets and 50 PCSO’s. We cannot trust those who reduced our police force to improve our police force.

"The Conservatives cuts have made our communities less safe and I want to invest in more Police officers on the ground so that the frontline is protected from any cuts.

"No one can hide away from the fact that the force has often made the headlines for the wrong reasons in recent times. The people of Cleveland deserve a police force that they trust to serve and protect them. We must restore pride and trust to Cleveland Police.

"The new Chief Constable is making good progress however I’m not complacent about the challenges that we face. I will back him, and work alongside him, to deliver the excellent police force that you deserve."

Steve Turner, Conservative

The former North-east chairman of UKIP defected to the Tories in 2017 saying the party had “lost its way”.

He became UKIP’s first ever councillor in Redcar and Cleveland in the Longbeck ward in 2015.

"There's absolutely no reason why Cleveland Police shouldn't be achieving the same high standards as neighbouring police forces like Durham and North Yorkshire.

"But after eight years under Labour PCC, Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police instead suffered a monumental decline in standards," he said.

"If elected, I will put more police officers where they're most needed - on our streets.

"It was a conscious decision by Labour to reduce the number of patrolling officers - a huge mistake that will be reversed immediately.

"We will tackle anti-social behaviour, prevent and reduce knife crime by increasing stop and search and educating young people about the cost of violent crime.

"I'll be tough on drugs and gangs, arresting street dealers and sharing intelligence with neighbouring police forces.

"We will supercharge our use of technology to combat crime tripling the number of drones and drone operators to support officers on the ground and we'll use sobriety and GPS tags to deter crime and track criminals.

"And most importantly, we will provide better support for the victims of crime giving them the support and facilities they need to help them recover and move past the impacts of crime.

"People need to feel safe on their own streets and we simply cannot allow Labour to once again lead our police force towards failure."

Chris Jones, Liberal Democrats

Cllr Chris Jones, who sits on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, has spent more than 18 years as a manager at a large social housing company on Teesside.

Elected in 2015, Cllr Jones says he understands policing procedures and the role of the commissioner from his time on the police and crime panel.

He added: “Our police force needs sufficient resources to tackle crime successfully and, as PCC, I would work to ensure these resources were used effectively.”

Removing barriers and bureaucracy for victims is also an aim of the Liberal Democrat candidate.

“When crime touches your life, it can be scary and frustrating,” added Cllr Jones.

“It is often complicated, full of red tape and can leave families devastated.

“I want to change that and provide a service that properly protects everyone.”

He also pointed to his scrutiny role in helping to bring “effective changes” to the force - such as the introduction of a vulnerability desk to the 101 service to help vulnerable adults and children.

Cllr Jones added: “I have seen what can happen, when challenges are looked at with fresh eyes.

“As commissioner, I could do much more.

“One of my key priorities would be to establish a strong, professional, open and transparent relationship with Chief Constable Lewis.

“Building on the improvements he has already made, I would develop a robust, achievable, evidence-based plan to turn Cleveland Police into a force we can not only rely on, but of which we can be proud.”

Barrie Copper, Independent

As a former a police officer he believes he has the skills essential to helping deliver policing results that the people all across the Cleveland force area want.

The independent has referred to his experience on the front line in his bid to become the next commissioner and would have a “sit down” with the Chief Constable is elected.

He added: "I have had several discussions with Friends of Eston Hills around the issue of motor bikes and quads riding on the hills. It is unlawful to ride or drive mechanical vehicles on common land of course there are exceptions to the rule, for instance to park but that doesn’t apply for the vehicles discussed.

"Middlesbrough, Stockton and Hartlepool also suffer with motorbikes riding around estates and greenbelts. I suggested a place for them to ride on part of the disused Steel Works.

"Hartlepool residents want a fully functioning Police Station at present any person in custody is transferred to Middlesbrough leaving Hartlepool short of a vehicle and crew, I've made the trip from Hartlepool Station to Middlesbrough Station it wastes a lot of time.

"Middlesbrough is already trying different methods to reduce Drug problems and combat Violent Crime of all kinds, I would engage with Local People and Councillors in all 4 Local Authorities to share thoughts and news of any positive results or alternative ideas.

"Stockton is reinventing its High Street and making an excellent job I’m sure they would welcome a friendly Bobby on Patrol when all the shops are re-opened."