Police force clinches outstanding rating for the third time

Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Mike Barton.
Durham Constabulary Chief Constable Mike Barton.
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Durham Police has retained its position as the best in the country for the third year running.

The force was the only one rated as outstanding by the government watchdog.

Durham Police headquarters.

Durham Police headquarters.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) evaluated forces in four areas, preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, investigating crime and managing offenders, protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims and tackling serious and organised crime.

Durham Constabulary's Chief Constable, Mike Barton, welcomed the report, saying: "To achieve these results is remarkable and I hope everyone who works or volunteers for Durham Constabulary takes pride in knowing they are the best in the country."

While Durham celebrated being the only one of 43 forces rated as outstanding, Cleveland and Northumbria were among those rated as good.

Inspectors from HMIC concluded that Northumbria Police gave an “excellent service to victims” particularly those affected by more serious crimes such as rape.

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman.

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Steve Ashman.

They stated the force had “robust supervisory oversight, good use of risk assessments and a very good support service to vulnerable victims. This same level of service is also given to victims of domestic abuse and to vulnerable victims in general.”

Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Steve Ashman, said: "This is a very reassuring report for a large, metropolitan force that faces such variety of complex policing issues. In particular, HMIC highlight the importance we place on vulnerability and safeguarding. A huge amount of work has gone into this vital area of work and I am pleased this has been recognised within this report.

"Work is already underway to make further improvements to the service we provide and in the ways we go about preventing reoffending.

"Protecting the public and providing the highest levels of service are clear priorities to everyone working in Northumbria Police and I am immensely proud of the way our officers and staff continue to respond to the many challenges they face.

"There is no doubt this report paints a very positive picture of the work we do and clearly demonstrates how far we have come in improving the services we provide to the fantastic communities we have in the North East."

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “Northumbria Police is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime – we will build upon this to ensure we deliver an even better service in tackling anti-social-behaviour. Our drive to deliver outstanding service to vulnerable victims will continue."

National findings prompted the HMIC to raise the alarm over the "potentially perilous" state of British policing.

The watchdog issued a warning that a shortage of detectives and investigators amounted to a "national crisis".

Mike Barton, who is also the National Police Chiefs' Council Lead for Crime Operations, added: "Over the last five years, police budgets were reduced by 22% and we lost 32,334 officers and staff at a time where the crime is changing, becoming more costly and complex to investigate and other calls for our service have increased. It's a simple reality that we are required to prioritise more."