A NEW team has been created as part of a radical shake up of council services, in response to residents’ views that community safety should be one of its priorities.

Darlington Borough Council yesterday launched its Community Safety Team in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour and prevent crime in the town.

Over the last eight months, Civic Enforcement Officers have been recruited and trained before being presented with their Community Safety Accreditation by Durham Police’s Chief Constable Jo Farrell in the Dolphin Centre.

The Northern Echo:

This accreditation will give the team powers usually reserved for police officers meaning they can prosecute cases of environmental crime, parking and anti-social behaviour.

This includes fly tipping, anti-social behaviour, litter, dog fouling, illegal parking and vehicles that are untaxed, dangerous or causing an obstruction or nuisance.

The uniformed team will use distinctive yellow and black vehicles to ensure high visibility as they patrol the streets of Darlington seven days a week.

Graham Hall, Head of Community Safety, said: "The public in Darlington have expressed concerns over community safety, littering and anti-social behaviour within the town - this team has been created as a result of that.

"It gives us the opportunity to engage with the public and reassure any concerns they may have over safety by being aware those concerns and taking action."

Members of the public are invited to meet the new team at an open event in the Market Square and Dolphin Centre foyer on Sunday June 30, from 10am to 3pm.

The new team and partners from Durham Police, County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service, Blood Bikes and others will be on hand at the event to talk about their work.

There will also be the chance to have a behind-the-scenes look at the CCTV control room on a series of tours.

Durham Police Chief Constable Jo Farrell, said: “The launch of the Community Safety Team reinforces our commitment to work in partnership with local organisations to provide a safer community for the people of Darlington.

The Northern Echo: Durham Police Chief Constable Jo Farrell. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTDurham Police Chief Constable Jo Farrell. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

“Their work will complement the work of our local neighbourhood policing team to help improve the quality of life for people in the borough.”

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “The new Community Safety Team signals the start of a new era for the borough of Darlington.

"We want to work closely with communities to deliver improvements to public safety and reassure our residents that we are listening and taking their concerns seriously.

“Our new team provides the borough with the capability to safeguard our streets and clamp down on those who infringe on the rights and safety of others.

"This event is a great opportunity for people to come along and meet the team and our partners to find out more.”