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Cleveland's chief Richard Lewis to move to Dyfed Powys

Richard Lewis has been announced as the preferred candidate for the role of Chief Constable for Dyfed-Powys Police, meaning Cleveland is looking for its seventh chief in under a decade.

Chief Constable Lewis, paid £160,000 a year, is moving back to Wales to be with his family. 

The appointment is subject to the approval of the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel which is meeting on Friday 30 July.

He has led the improvement programme put in place after the force was judged by HMI to be failing in 2019.

Two HMI assessments this year have judged the force to be making good progress in improving performance.

The search for another new Chief will be a critical test for the force.

Former chief constable Sean Price was sacked for gross misconduct in 2012, officers were under investigation after journalists’ phones were unlawfully monitored, and there had been long-standing claims of racism within the ranks.

In February 2021, an official inspection deemed it to be improving, but the watchdog said there was still hard work to do.

CC Lewis said: “The improvements that we have made since I joined Cleveland Police in April 2019 are testament to the commitment, innovation and talent of officers and staff from across the force.

“This work could not be achieved without each police officer, staff member and volunteer pulling together to believe that change could happen and putting plans into action."

He added: "Senior leaders in the Force will continue to drive this work forward whilst I ensure a smooth transition to a new Chief Constable. I have every faith that the Force will achieve its vision of delivering outstanding policing for communities.

“Leaving Cleveland Police is not a decision that I have taken lightly, and I have considered many different options, but I am moving back to Wales to be closer to family.

He added: “The Cleveland area is such a beautiful part of the world and our local people have a community spirit second to none.”

Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner, who took over when Barry Coppinger resigned last summer, said: “I’ve spoken at length to Richard and know that he wants to move back to Wales for family reasons.

“As a family man myself, I can understand his decision-making and wish him well in his new role.

“Richard has been at the helm of the improvements that we have seen at Cleveland Police and has achieved a great deal in his time here.

“It is now my responsibility to find a successor who can continue to build on these plans and further improve service delivery to local people.”

PCC Turner said the new chief should be an “ethical and strong leader” and who is committed to reducing serious violence in homes and on the streets.

He added: “I will leave no stone unturned to find the right chief constable, who shares my passion for the area and who will help me put the pride back into Cleveland Police.”

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