A REFUGEE support group has been praised by Cleveland’s new Police and Crime Commissioner.

Barry Coppinger spoke out after visiting the Asylum Seekers and Refugees Group, which holds drop-in sessions in Hartlepool every Monday.

He said: “Inevitably many refugees and asylum seekers have been through very difficult experiences and it’s important they know that here they can enjoy the support and protection of the police and other agencies.

“I have made clear that one of my priorities is delivering a better deal for victims – and that must apply to refugees and asylum seekers just as much as every other section of our community.

“I was very impressed with the efforts of the group and look forward to working with them in the future.”

The group was set up about three years ago and currently supports around 38 families, mainly from Asian and African countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The group holds drop-in sessions every Monday from 11.30am to 2pm in St Joseph’s Church Hall, Hutton Avenue, Hartlepool.