Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has said there is “more to be done” after a new government report stated the force ‘requires improvement’ in responding to the public and protecting vulnerable people.

The report, released today (November 17) by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) revealed that the county has one of the highest domestic violence rates in the country and is not making “good use” of protective measures for victims.

The force also answered 61% of its 999 calls within ten seconds compared to the national standard of 90% and “needs to do more to meet the public’s needs in all areas”.

Directly compared to the same report issued in 2021, the force has lost several ‘good’ rankings including in the areas of investigating crime and managing offenders and has retained one ‘outstanding’ ranking for disrupting serious organised crime.

However despite the majority of their policing areas being marked as ‘adequate’ Commissioner Allen has assured the public that “work is already underway” to make improvements.

She said: “There is a lot to be pleased about in this report.  These ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ ratings are the result of commitment and determination from the leadership team, officers and staff.  The people of County Durham and Darlington are safer as a result and I welcome that.”

“These results cannot be compared to previous inspection reports as it is a new inspection regime. Durham Constabulary has my full support in taking forward the improvements identified by HMICFRS especially when you consider what they have achieved against a backdrop of rapidly reducing resources as a result of an unfair and outdated funding formula that disadvantages Durham Constabulary.

“I have repeatedly lobbied the Government for a more sustainable, and level approach to the funding formula.  To me, it is logical that forces should be funded, fairly, in direct response to demand, and not as the government’s outdated funding formula imagines them to be.

“Durham is one of 15 forces still short of 2010 officer levels yet another force has grown by 158 officers. Durham is also further penalised in the way council tax revenue is generated, with areas like North Yorkshire able to raise twice as much as Durham because of a larger quota of higher Council Tax Band properties. These inconsistencies are widening the gulf between the richest and poorest forces with those grappling with higher demand and deprivation paying the price for a broken and unworkable system. This cannot be equitable.

“To add to the financial challenge we face, the government has cut Durham’s capital grant from £1m to £0, piling more pressure on revenue budgets and the public purse at a time when forces nationally are battling rising costs and inflation.


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“The report states that improvement is required when the force responds to the public, particularly in terms of 101 call handling and protecting vulnerable people. Unfortunately, it fails to give due credit to the investment I have made in these areas over recent months, which is already delivering improvements in performance. 

“There is more to be done, but that work is already underway, with promising results.  I’m pleased to say that the average time to answer a 101 call has halved in recent months and, despite a significant increase in call volume, average 999 answer times have remained consistent with over 75% of calls being answered within 10 seconds.

“I am working hard with the Constabulary to drive these improvements harder and faster.  But, to be blunt, cutting crime and keeping people safe costs money. And we don’t have enough.  This is why I am continuing to lobby our local MPs and the Government to swiftly address the inequalities in the funding formula.  Local residents should not be penalised in this way and I will do everything in my power to bring about the necessary change.”