Durham Constabulary is celebrating a hat-trick of success after once again being rated ‘Outstanding’ by inspectors.
For the third year running, the force has achieved the highest possible grading in an inspection to assess how effective it is at cutting crime and keeping people safe.
In a report published today (Thursday March 22), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) judged Durham to be outstanding at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour and also at dealing with serious and organised crime.
The force was found to be good at investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people.
Durham was given an overall rating of ‘outstanding’, the only force in the country to achieve the top grade.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr concluded: “Overall, Durham Constabulary remains outstandingly effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe.
“It continues to provide high-quality services to its communities, as well as seeking to innovate and improve in many areas.”
Welcoming the announcement, Durham’s Deputy Chief Constable Jo Farrell, said: “We face the same problems as other forces: austerity, increased demand and having to police the internet.
“But every time the inspection teams have visited over the last 12 months, they have commented that ‘it feels different here’.
“We have very positive, optimistic, professional staff who work as a team and deliver an outstanding service to the people of County Durham and Darlington.
“These brilliant people are supported by software we write ourselves and that’s probably what gives us our marginal edge.”
Today’s report is the third and final part of the annual Peel (Police Efficiency, Effectiveness and Legitimacy) inspections, which are regular reviews of each of the UK’s 43 forces.
This is the third time that the full Peel inspection programme has been conducted and the third time that Durham has been rated outstanding.
Inspectors highlighted “an impressive level of understanding” throughout the force of the support needed for vulnerable people and the extent to which officers and staff shared the force vision of putting victims and the people of County Durham and Darlington first.
Jo Farrell added: “On behalf of all the officers and staff at Durham Constabulary, I am delighted with the news: it demonstrates our commitment to keeping people safe.
“The Durham Difference is about being efficient and innovative, it’s about good partnerships which help with problem-solving.
“But above all, it’s about the attitude of all the staff: there are very clear objectives and very clear values which we all share.”
Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations, once again, to Durham Constabulary for yet another outstanding outcome in an inspection report.
“It’s well deserved and reflects the positive ethos that exists across the force.
“There are always challenges, as crime has risen and funding continues to be constrained.
“Local people should be confident that they have a police force that is committed to addressing these effectively.”