Reports of anti-social behaviour and recorded incidents in County Durham have decreased after thousands of extra police patrols in ‘hotspot areas’, a police chief has said.  

More than 7,000 extra policing patrols have been carried out as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour across County Durham and Darlington.

The drive came after Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Joy Allen secured Home Office funding worth £2m in 2023/24 to pilot urgent action to tackle crime. A further £2m is being provided for the project in 2024/25.

The PCC invested funding in ‘hotspot’ enforcement patrols in areas with the worst anti-social behaviour problems in partnership with Durham Constabulary, the Fire and Rescue Service and local councils.

The Northern Echo: Joy Allen, Durham's Police & Crime Commissioner

A new Immediate Justice scheme has also been launched, which sees perpetrators forced to repair wrongdoing in the communities affected by their behaviour.

The pilot, which launched in July last year, has so far delivered more than 7,000 extra policing patrols – 3,140 between October and December 2023 alone – and has led to more than 30 arrests, 58 stop and searches and several informal warnings, dispersal notices, fixed penalty notices and other civil responses. 

A total of 20 individuals have been referred to Immediate Justice in the last quarter (October and December 2023) across Darlington Youth Justice, Durham Youth Justice and Adults.

This week, Home Office officials joined the PCC and partners in a walkabout in Durham City and Stanley to see the project in action.

Commissioner Allen said: “I welcome the Home Office’s interest in the rollout of this scheme here in the Durham force area. Like every county in the country, the residents of County Durham and Darlington want to see the police taking firm action against the people who cause grief and misery in their communities, and this is exactly what we are doing.

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“The tough, no-nonsense approach has not only helped to reassure residents and businesses, but has also proven effective in securing arrests, preventing crime and identifying individuals who need more support to divert them from a future within the criminal justice system. 

“We also plan to hold focus groups so that residents can discuss at length the impact of the scheme on their lives. Although this project is still in its infancy, we have laid strong foundations, and I am positive there will be more success to share in the future.”

On a visit to the region, Policing Minister, Chris Philp added: “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their neighbourhood. Anti-social behaviour is a genuine threat to people’s sense of safety and needs to be taken seriously. I’m delighted to see how effective this has been in County Durham and Darlington.”