Drug dealing, problem gambling, fly-tipping among priorities Durham Police and Crime Commissioner aims to target

Drug dealing, problem gambling, fly-tipping and speeding are among the top priorities outlined by Durham’s new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 4:50 pm

Labour’s Joy Allen was elected to the role earlier this month (May 8), making her the third holder of the post and the first woman.

And she has promised the county’s communities she won’t run her office from an ‘ivory tower’, insisting instead she will ‘deliver what matters’.

“The majority of people in County Durham are more concerned about anti-social behaviour than burglary – most people’s priorities are basic things, the things they see every day,” she said.

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Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen

“We need to focus on support services for ASB and support services will be centre stage of what I do.

“But I also need to make sure we focus on getting as many cases to court as possible.”

Allen, who formerly represented Bishop Auckland on Durham County Council (DCC), needed a recount to confirm her victory in a tight contest against Conservative candidate George Jabbour.

This required second preference votes from the defeated Lib Dem challenger to be tallied, something which was not necessary in the two elections won by her predecessor, the late Ron Hogg.

A win for Labour in the PCC race was overshadowed by a disappointing showing in other polls, including losing control of DCC for the first time in about a century.

But Allen has also pledged to work with rival political parties, as well as looking to work across borders, such as with re-elected Northumbria PCC Kim McGuinness.

Support services for victims of crime could be in for an overhaul, with Allen insisting someone dealing with daily anti-social behaviour warranted attention as much as someone dealing with the fallout of other crimes.

And within this, intelligence gathering is likely to play a key role.

She added: “It’s taking a long time to make [non-emergency] 101 calls [to the police], people are sometimes waiting 20 minutes on a call.

“That isn’t just a local issue though.

“To problem-solve effectively, we need intelligence – if it’s not reported, it hasn’t happened and for me to get to sorting the problems, I need to make it quicker and easier to report things.”

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