OVER fifty areas in Cleveland affected by violent crime will receive daily patrols from police officers and PCSOs to deter criminals and increase feelings of safety.

The four-month project has been given the green light following a successful bid to the Home Office, who awarded £389,000 to Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner to invest in targeted policing.

Officers and PCSOs will conduct high-visibility, uniformed patrols on foot, visiting each of the 56 areas every day for 18 weeks.

These patrols will be supported by two dedicated community engagement PCSOs and the force’s Special Constabulary, who will provide additional visibility during the project.

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Levels of crime in the 56 neighbourhoods will be closely monitored alongside 56 ‘control areas’ to analyse the impact increased patrols have on levels of crime and antisocial behaviour.

Mr Turner was recently appointed as the national lead for serious violence by the Association Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC).

He said: “Cleveland’s residents want to see one thing - more police officers with their boots on the ground in the places where they’re really needed. That’s exactly what this project aims to do, using uniformed officers and staff to deter crime and gather community intelligence.

“It’s encouraging to see the Government prioritising Cleveland in their funding to address serious violence. For too long our rates of serious violence have exceed those of huge metropolitan areas like London or Manchester.

“Should this programme be successful, I’ll be having further discussions with the force about how targeted policing of priority areas can be sustained to make a difference to worst affected communities.”

Cleveland currently has the second highest levels of violent crime (per population) in the country. The force also features in the top four forces in the country for the rate of offences involving knives and firearms.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Bent, Head of Crime for Cleveland Police, said: “It’s never been more important that we work together to prevent and detect serious violence offences to improve the lives of future generations. Increased funding will help us to direct resources to specific areas based upon analysis of current trends and incidents. We can’t tackle serious violence alone, and not only do we need to address the things taking place on the streets today, but we need to educate people about the consequences and the impacts of violent crime.

“We have held the first meeting of the Cleveland Multi-agency Serious Violence Group and its purpose is to address serious violence across Teesside by adopting a public health approach, which sees partners work together to address the symptoms. We have key partners around the table, all with a clear focus and dedication to dealing with violence and preventing it in the future.”

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