Durham Constabulary has revealed measures are being introduced in response to a new government report which details that the force requires improvement in responding to the public and protecting vulnerable people.

The 2023-25 report, released today by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that the force has one of the highest rates of domestic abuse repeat offences, and has exhibited a “failure to apply for protective measures”.

This is as well as answering 61% of its 999 calls within 10 seconds compared to the national standard of 90%.

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However, the force has now responded to the report, announcing that 15 call handlers and nine switchboard staff have been hired as well as setting up a team which has contributed to 74 Domestic Violence Prevention Orders, a legal tool which protects victims from their abusers.

Because of these measures, the force states that the average time to answer a 101 call has halved in recent months and average 999 answer times have remained consistent with over 75% of calls being answered within 10 seconds.

Acting Chief Constable Ciaron Irvine added “We are constantly trying to deliver a better service and make improvements, but this rigorous inspection shows we are tackling the things that matter most to our communities and are delivering on our values to protect the people of County Durham and Darlington.

“The praise of our positive workforce culture, effective planning for the future and the positive engagement with our communities is well deserved and reflects significant effort across the organisation.

“It has highlighted the outstanding work that our officers are doing in tackling the significant harm done to our communities by organised crime, but it has also pointed to some areas where we need to do better and we are confident that we have plans in place which will ensure we deliver those improvements.”

Acting Chief Constable Irvine added: “Investment has been made in the Force Control Room and the speed at which we answer both 999 and 101 calls has increased significantly in recent months. With the support of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Constabulary will be further accelerating this improvement with additional technology investment early into the new year.

“The Constabulary has also addressed the areas raised in the inspection with regard to protecting vulnerable people. Additional resource and revised processes have seen almost overnight improvements in this area, with further work to ensure consistently high-quality delivery already well advanced.

“Whilst there will be some concern that overall grades for the Constabulary are lower, this must be seen in the context of the new inspection regime and I am confident that Durham Constabulary remains among the best performing police forces in the country.”

Using data from the Home Office, ONS and the force itself, areas were graded from outstanding to inadequate.


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Out of the ten areas that were examined in the force for the report, 5 were ranked ‘adequate’, including investigating crime and managing offenders.

Disrupting serious organised crime was ranked ‘outstanding’ preventing crime and recording data about crime were deemed to be ‘good’.

Compared to a previous report using the same methodology for 2020 data, the force has lost several ‘good’ rankings including in the areas of investigating crime and managing offenders.