Two police forensic services merging into one

Ron Hogg, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner.
Ron Hogg, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner.

A new joint forensics unit - covering two police force areas - is to be launched with its headquarters in Peterlee.

The merger of Durham Constabulary and Northumbria Police’s scientific officers units - who hunt for clues left at crime scenes - begins this week and is due to be completed by the end of next year.

By working together, this new arrangement will enable both forces to be more efficient and effective over the coming years

Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner

A joint service is hoped to save money and allow both forces to benefit from sharing skills of specialist officers.

The move has been welcomed by Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ commissioner Ron Hogg.

He said: “I am a strong supporter of collaborating with our partners, where we can offer a good service.

“By working together, this new arrangement will enable both forces to be more efficient and effective over the coming years.”

The new service will provide support to crime investigations across both forces covering an area from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Darlington.

While the headquarters will be based at Peterlee, crime scene investigators will also remain at stations in Northumbria to ensure that they are on hand when needed.

Superintendant Chris Curtis, head of Durham Constabulary’s Business Change team, said: “Working with Northumbria Police to offer a joint forensic services function makes great sense.

“Once the collaboration is complete and the new working arrangements are in place, we will be offering members of the public across Northumbria and Durham a better value for money service, with a larger number of specialist forensic experts at their disposal.

“From Durham’s perspective we are really looking forward to working closely with our colleagues at Northumbria Police over the coming months as we complete all of the necessary actions needed to successfully merge our existing forensic functions.”

Forensics officers also analyse fingerprints and footwear comparisons.

Detective Superintendent, Christina Barrett, from Northumbria Police said the move will create access to a wider range of skills and numbers of investigators.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, added: “This is another example of excellent collaboration work taking place in the North East.

“By sharing resources and pooling expertise we will improve our forensic provision and the service we deliver to the public, and importantly, we will do so at a reduced cost.

“I am determined to make savings wherever possible to allow us to re-invest all savings back into Northumbria Police.”