ALL four candidates fighting to become Cleveland Police’s first commissioner have spoken about the crisis currently engulfing the force.

Senior members of Cleveland Police have been subject to an ongoing investigation, Operation Sacristry, into allegations of fraud and corruption.

Candidates have all said they would be best at holding senior officers to account as well as addressing day-to-day issues, such as community policing.

Labour traditionally does well on Teesside, and Barry Coppinger, said his long experience on Cleveland Police Authority would serve him well. He has also claimed to have played a part in starting neighbourhood policing.

Sultan Alam, an independent, has provided a strong challenge and pointed to his 17 years fighting for justice after he was wrongly imprisoned while working for the force. He said he would have no problem holding a chief constable to account after that experience.

Ken Lupton, for the Conservatives, who are well-organised in the area and had a victory in Stockton South at the last election, said he would work on restoring confidence in the force and the public after Operation Sacristry. He would work closely with the chief constable and hold the force to account.

The Green party's Joe Michna has, like Mr Alam, funded his own campaign. He said he would only accept half of the £70,000 salary. He would challenge and hold the chief constable to account.

The candidates are: Barry Coppinger, Labour. A union official and leading Middlesbrough councillor he has served on Cleveland Police Authority.

Sultan Alam, Independent. A former Cleveland policeman who was wrongly imprisoned and spent 17 years clearing his name.

Ken Lupton, Conservative. A retired manager and former leader of Stockton Borough Council.

Joe Michna, Green Party. Manager of Hartlepool Citizens Advice Bureau and Middlesbrough councillor.