Mother’s gratitude

I FELT I must respond to the letter from David Severs of Northallerton regarding our North Yorkshire police and crime commissioner (D&S Times, June 1).

I write as a victim and someone who was helped by our PCC and who continues to help me, whenever I need it.

I first met Julia Mulligan in 2013 at Stokesley, where she was having a surgery. My daughter, Claudia had been missing since 2009.

The case had been badly handled by North Yorkshire Police and I was desperate to find a way forward and to find someone who would listen. I knew the only way was to go back to the beginning and go through all that was missed.

Our PCC, shortly after our meeting, went to the force’s then-headquarters at Newby Wiske and within a short time we had a new team on the case.

The police do need someone like Julia who is human and who listens. It’s the human side of this nightmare that will find the answer, but for me, I still have hope and will never give up.

Joan Lawrence, Malton.

PS: I continue to be very grateful for the love and support from the people of Darlington. I get so much strength and courage from you all.

Not soft

YOUR readers will be pleased to know that innovative work between various partners in Cleveland has seen the number of young people entering the criminal justice system for the first time fall by almost 40 per cent.

Cleveland Divert seeks to build on this work and address the offending behaviour of adult offenders at an earlier stage. Evidence from elsewhere in the country shows that this works and we have been asked personally by Government to look at this new approach.

There are hundreds of people in our local criminal justice system for low-level offences, such as shoplifting, which place increased demand on our already overstretched police and court services. By diverting low-level offenders away from the criminal justice system, we will free up our resources to investigate and deal with more serious crimes.

Divert will intervene and challenge offenders thinking and behaviour, but also identify and address the underlying causes for offending – this may include tackling drug or alcohol dependency; recognising mental health issues; supporting individuals into education or employment.

Divert is in the developmental stage and Phil O’Brien (D&S Times, May 25) can be assured that I will work with victims to ensure their voice remains at the centre of the scheme.

Getting a better deal for victims and witnesses is one of the key five priorities of my Police and Crime Plan and I remain committed to developing the Victim Care and Advice Service, which I established with my Durham counterpart Ron Hogg to offer free, confidential advice to victims across Cleveland and County Durham.

I consider Cleveland Divert to be smart on crime, not soft on crime.

We should embrace this new initiative in a bid to make Cleveland a safer place; save taxpayers the cost of repeated re-offending; and divert people from crime by helping them to turn their lives around.

Barry Coppinger, Police & Crime Commissioner for Cleveland

Big brother

ACCORDING to a recent survey, most British people are accepting of surveillance.

The most common justification for ubiquitous snooping is: “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

That may well be OK in the UK, where we have well-defined rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. Here, the government is restricted in what it can do, being subject to the law and the checks and balances of our largely unwritten constitution.

But if, as a result of war, revolution, or a take-over by a particular ideology, absolute power fell into the hands of the few, the government could use IT systems and other means of surveillance, not only to subjugate but to manipulate us to its own purposes.

When I first read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, I took his warnings with a pinch of salt because, at that time, it was impossible continuously to keep a watch on tens of millions of people.

It turns out, however, that Orwell was not just a top author, but a far-sighted prophet, because the authorities now have the technology to do just that.

Cllr Steve Kay, Moorsholm

Fracking plea

CHEMICALS giant INEOS is reported as in the process of contacting headteachers of every primary school in the country, promoting its “Daily Mile” initiative.

It will seem churlish to point this out as what is proposed - running outside for 15 minutes a day - does indeed appear to be advantageous to the future health of our children.

Headteachers might well consider implementing this themselves to enhance their curricula - but let us hope that they do so without regard to or acknowledgement of Ineos's advice.

This is a company aggressively pursuing a fracking agenda to feed its plastics industry when indications of the detrimental effects of fracking on the health of children and others living close to fracking wells are increasingly well documented, a company challenging the Scottish fracking moratorium in the High Court, a company taking the National Trust to court over its refusal to allow seismic testing and fracking in Clumber Park, a company which has obtained an injunction which effectively outlaws effective demonstration against its fracking activities at English sites.

This is a company cynically prepared to use the health of our children to gain acceptance and approval in our communities.

Get your children running, headteachers, but please, please, not under the INEOS banner.

David Cragg-James, Stonegrave, York

Dementia help

I WANT to thank everyone in North Yorkshire who united with us during Dementia Action Week to help the more than 10,000 people with the condition in the area.

Local highlights included uniting with North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to “wrap” two of their fire engines with our United against Dementia logo and deliver Dementia Friends sessions to all their fire officers and dementia awareness stands in libraries, shopping centres and hospitals across the county. There is still much work to do. During the week new Alzheimer’s Society research revealed that over half of people in Yorkshire and the Humber say dementia is their greatest concern for old age. We know that too many people face the condition alone, without adequate support.

It’s not too late to take action on dementia in North Yorkshire. Visit to find out about the information and support we provide, and how you can get involved and make a difference.

Linda Haggie, N Yorkshire Alzheimer’s Society.

Fight diabetes

DIABETES UK are urging people go the extra mile on Sunday September 9 by taking part in this year’s Simply Health Great North Run for the charity.

We are asking those who have secured a place in the Great North Run ballot to consider running for us and support our work towards a world where diabetes can do no harm.

Diabetes is a serious condition that, if not properly managed, can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and amputation.

All Diabetes UK runners receive a branded vest, crazy hair, a fundraising toolkit, online support and training tips.

They will also be cheered on by Diabetes UK supporters along the route giving them an extra boost towards the finish line.

If you would like to run for Diabetes UK please contact the events fundraising team on 0345 123 2399 or email

Stephen Ryan, head of the North, Diabetes UK

Boro book

I WOULD like to appeal to readers for their help in the production of a book all about Middlesbrough Football Club.

I am hoping they will be able to share with me their memories of the 1973/74 season when Jack Charlton’s side stormed into the old Division One and also that glorious campaign, which I was lucky enough to cover as a sports reporter, that culminated in the Carling Cup win in Cardiff. As well as personal memories, I am also on the look-out for photos to illustrate my book and if anyone can share any old images with me I would be eternally grateful and that support would be properly acknowledged in the book.

Rob Stewart, email:

Hospital praise

I WOULD like to praise the new A & E entrance to Darlington Memorial Hospital.

I needed treatment for a finger injury and was in and out within half-an-hour on a Saturday afternoon.

The staff were cheerful and efficient, and I was treated by a charming nurse who set my mind at rest and gave simple, clear instructions for aftercare. Well done and thanks to you all.

Jen Capewell, Richmond