Extra police officers will be on the beat in Durham city centre thanks to funding from a local parish council.

Two dedicated patrol officers are being introduced to provide a visible and reassuring presence in the city centre on nights when there may be additional footfall, as well as extending patrols to residential areas, ensuring that people get home safely.

The officers will work in conjunction with the Durham City safety hub, which is open in St Nic’s church and is staffed by officers, security and support workers, as well as trained CitySafe medics.

The hub has already offered assistance to hundreds of vulnerable people who have needed help in its first year of opening.

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As supporters and major funders of the safety hub project, the City of Durham Parish Council has provided funding for a further two officers to patrol the city during busier periods.

Since the beginning of April, the officers have been patrolling key areas identified by partners based on crime data, policing priorities and general concerns passed over to them from members of the public with a key focus on safety, vulnerability, antisocial behaviour and disorder.

Chair of the Parish Council, Alan Doig said: "The Parish Council has played a major role in the establishment of a city safety hub and we are absolutely delighted to be continuing this partnership working with our Police and Crime Commissioner and Durham City Neighbourhood Inspector in order to deliver an enhanced policing service for our residents.

“Having a more visible police presence at night and improving the safety of all our residents is a key issue for our community. We have already heard from residents about the positive impacts this operation has had in the city, and we hope that this can continue into the future."

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The patrolling vehicles will be easily identifiable with an illuminated ‘police’ light fitted inside the cars, similar to those seen in police vehicles in the 60s and 70s.

Inspector Dave Clarke, from Durham City Neighbourhood Police Team said: “We want everyone to feel safe in Durham City, especially on nights out – the funding means that officers will be permanently stationed right in the heart of the city centre on our busier nights.

“We already have a number of local policing resources present in the city, however, they are often responding to ongoing incidents and often get little time to proactively patrol key locations.

“We have listened to concerns and hope that the extra deployment of officers will be well received by members of the public as well as licensees and door staff and will give them further confidence to report incidents.”

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Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has also agreed to provide funding for a full-time community and safety and engagement officer who will lead on the response to safety issues in Durham City.

PCC Allen said: "The ability to see and talk to a police officer is hugely important for local people. The extension of these patrols is one of the many improvements we are making as partners to deliver on these expectations.

"Having a regular and enhanced policing presence will not only improve the confidence and safety of the people visiting our city centre, it will also ensure help is at hand when it is urgently needed and will ensure resources are not diverted to other areas of need when demand is highest. 

"We have a safe and thriving city and I am determined to keep it that way by tackling issues proactively and investing in resources that maximise the safety of our public spaces."