Three candidates will contest next month’s Durham Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election. 

Labour's Joy Allen, Liberal Democrat Nigel Boddy and the Conservatives' Robert Potts are vying for the top job

The Durham post, first established in 2012, has been held by Labour’s Joy Allen since 2021, when she won the May election following the death of former PCC Ron Hogg. 

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has interviewed all three candidates ahead of the election on Thursday, May 2. 

Finally, we hear from Labour candidate Joy Allen.

First elected in 2021, Joy Allen hopes to continue her role as PCC and make Durham Constabulary one of the best forces in the country. 

Why should people care about the PCC election?

“Without a PCC the top priorities would be more focused on serious crime. Anti-social behaviour would not feature, and with all the work that’s been done on tackling it locally, if you didn’t have a PCC you wouldn’t have got that at all.

“We also have a big voice politically and do a lot of work nationally. We are very close to the public and push for change and ensure people have a voice.”

How can you restore public trust in the police? 

“If you look at how rural crime works in the Dales it’s fabulous. It’s not run or managed by the police, it's the farming community, who are on the ball. They have a good relationship with the police.

“I want to support the volunteers, who are our eyes and ears in the community, from speedwatch to shopwatch. You can now report crime online. People don’t have to ring 101 anymore, it’s fantastic.”


  • Neighbourhood Policing
  • Anti-Social Behaviour
  • Tackling Drug Use/Drug Dealing
  • Speeding Vehicles
  • Off Road Bikes
  • Improving 101/999 call handling

Joy Allen wants to focus on improving the post-prison experience for offenders in the region, if elected. She says the current prison, probation and court system is “badly broken” and “needs fixing”. 

She added: “If you’re a victim of crime you can end up going to the courts multiple times, but they don’t take on board the impact it is having on people. When people come out of prison they need housing, employment and support. That will help stop people reoffending. We need to give people a fighting chance.”

There’s also an ambition to get tougher on alcohol and drug-related crime and road safety, and making Durham Constabulary a trailblazer force in the country for tackling the issues. “We’ve got a real opportunity to make a radical change,” she added. 

Read more: Robert Potts - Conservative candidate hoping to cause upset in Durham PCC election

The Labour candidate is quick to rubbish claims from rival candidates. Claims that she will close down local police stations were branded “a load of rubbish” and deemed “lazy politics”. 

PCC Allen explained: “There are absolutely no plans to close any police stations and they’re not under threat.”

What is changing within the police estate, however, is plans to open a new centralised custody centre in Spennymoor and close custody suites in Darlington, Bishop Auckland, Durham City and Peterlee. Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats say the £24.9m spent on the scheme to date would be better used on improving frontline policing. Offenders arrested in Seaham will be transported 20 miles across County Durham to the new site, which the rival candidates say would draw neighbourhood officers away from their patches. 

But PCC Allen refutes the claims that the site is a “white elephant”, as claimed by COnservative candidate Robert Potts. She said: “Seeing the pressure on the staff and seeing how unsuitable the current premises are made me think ‘this is not an environment you want to work in’. It’s not safe for the officers or detainees.

“You might have to travel further but the transportation will be cancelled out by the time you process the person. It will be a completely different environment for everyone to work in and the facilities are second to none. It’s something we should be proud of. I haven’t met a single custody officer who doesn’t want a change.”

Will the custody centre be open this year? “I wouldn’t like to say,” she replied. “Whenever it’s done it’s done.” 

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In a final pledge for voters to choose her at the election, PCC Allen pointed to her record of delivery over her three years in the role already. 

She explained: “I am the only one who is in touch with the public. My manifesto is based on what the public wants: anti-social behaviour, drug use and dealing, speeding vehicles, off-road bikes, and making the police more accessible. 

“I’ve got so much experience from a senior level and have delivered results.”