A CHIEF constable will continue running policing in his force area for a further three years.

Chief Constable Mike Barton’s contract was due to come to an end in February 2018 after five years in charge of Durham Constabulary.

But Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg has this morning (Thursday, September 29) announced that his contract has been extended until February 2021.

Mr Hogg said: “Mike Barton is one of the outstanding police leaders of his generation.

“I have carefully considered the extension of his appointment, and taken into account a number of factors before confirming this decision.

“Mr Barton has demonstrated successful leadership since he took up his post, particularly during a period of uncertainty and change.

“He has tackled cuts to police budgets by being innovative and has shown that Durham Constabulary can do more with less."

Mike Barton said: “I feel honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to extend my stay at such an outstanding force.

“The key ingredient to our success at Durham Constabulary is the people; the family of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to make County Durham and Darlington a safer place to live and work.

“There will be challenges ahead as we work hard to maintain our position as the country’s leading force, but I am delighted to continue to be a part of the team that meets those challenges and continues to improve.”