A POLICE chief is hoping to secure more government funding to help him to continue to turn the force around.

Cleveland Police Chief Constable Richard Lewis is calling for extra funding to combat a serious problem with violence in the area.

The force is faced with tackling the second highest rate of violence per capita in the country.

Home Secretary Priti Patel visited Redcar earlier this month to meet with the force's newly elected Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner and the Chief Constable.

And the police chief took the opportunity to raise concerns about missing out on extra government funding to specifically target rising violent crime levels.

In March, the Government announced it was investing £130m to target violence hotspots to crack down on murders, knife crime and other serious offences.

Before heading to Redcar to meet new police recruits, the Home Secretary received a presentation showcasing the true reality of the serious violence problem in Cleveland.

The Northern Echo: Home Secretary Priti Patel meeting new recruits in Redcar with Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner and the town's MP Jacob YoungHome Secretary Priti Patel meeting new recruits in Redcar with Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner and the town's MP Jacob Young

As a result Mr Lewis says he is determined to access money to tackle the growing problem without focusing just on organised criminal gangs.

He said: "When lockdown finally comes to an end we, like every force in the country, are expecting crime levels to rise.

"We have seen a significant increase in cases of domestic violence throughout the lockdown and this is something that we are determined to tackle."

One of the key changes the Chief is continuing to implement across the force is the return to local policing and tackling the root causes of 'generational' crime.

Mr Lewis is looking to work in communities and schools to identify those at risk of becoming dragged into criminality.

He aims to help provide intervention to steer young people away from a life of crime.

"I understand the need to ensure results are visible quickly but short-term response to violence must be balanced with long-term strategy to drive down the number of incidents our communities suffer," he said.

"We plan to invest heavily in the coming years in ensuring that we make generational change in driving down violence.

"Not only does this take time, it takes heavy financial investment."

Mr Lewis said the rise in Conservative politicians in the force area, including Mr Turner's election as PCC last month, will not influence his approach to securing funding to protect the people living in the force area.

"Despite high levels of violence, Cleveland inexplicably missed out on Government funding for a Violence Reduction Unit," he said.

"Despite this setback, we will work with the PCC to fund our approach along the four ‘P’ system that has worked so well in areas such as counter-terrorism – prevent, protect, pursue and prepare."