IN his response to the damning report into his force by HM inspectors, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said the findings came as “no surprise” because his own scrutiny processes had highlighted the problems.

He says he will not step down because his role is to hold the chief constable to account, because it is that position, not his, which is responsible for operational and management matters.

However in addition to holding the police to account, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners describes the role as being “responsible for the totality of policing”. The association adds: “PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area. PCCs ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible, and are improving local relationships through building confidence and restoring trust.”

Yesterday’s report was devastating in its assessment of what the totality of policing in Cleveland has become – inadequate in every area, ineffective at tackling corruption, poor at preventing crime and not good enough at catching criminals.

Mr Coppinger is not solely responsible for these failings – senior leadership within the force has been letting down the communities of Teesside for years. But this has happened on his watch. He must face up to his own failings and stand down.

It is time for a new face to help Cleveland Police climb upwards from rock bottom.