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Cleveland rejects under-resourcing claim

Cleveland Police have rejected claims by an MP that they do not have enough resources.

Cleveland Police played down claims by the Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, that it was over-stretched.

His comments on social media followed two murders over the Christmas period that were described on social media as horrific.

He said: "Horrific that there are two murder enquiries underway in my constituency in just three days. I hope the police close the cases quickly. I know they don't have the resources for protracted investigations any more."

The MP’s comments come as final decisions on local funding from central government are still being made because of the general election.

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Barry Coppinger has yet to decide if he will launch a consultation on raising the police precept in local council tax bills to cover extra costs. The force is hampered by the fact that it has high levels of deprivation. Several of the wards within its boundaries are among the most deprived in the country.

Any rise in council tax would hit some of the poorest people in the country.

Cleveland is under pressure: the force was rated as inadequate by HM Inspectorate and is being supported to improve its performance.

However, the force said it had the resources to deal with major investigations such as murder cases.

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “Cleveland Police has appropriately resourced numerous investigations over the course of 2019, including homicides, which have led to a number of high profile convictions and the dedication and professionalism of officers and staff across such investigations will continue in 2020.”

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