Voters in County Durham and Darlington are set to go to the polls for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election. 

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. 

Who are the candidates? 

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

What is the Police and Crime Commissioner? 

The role of the PCC is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. 

PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area. They are elected by the public to hold Chief Constables and the force to account, making the police answerable to the communities they serve.

They are also responsible for: 

  • setting the police and crime objectives for their area through a police and crime plan;
  • setting the force budget and determining the precept;
  • uniting community safety and criminal justice partners, to make sure local priorities are joined up

When is polling day?

Election day is on Thursday, May 2 and the polls will be open from 7am to 10pm.

When will the results be announced?

The Durham PCC count is due to be held on Friday, May 3, in Spennymoor with a declaration expected around 5pm.

What have the three candidates said?

Joy Allen 

“If I am re-elected, my focus will be on preventing, deterring and detecting crime, protecting victims and relentlessly pursuing offenders. 

“Residents have told me they want me to tackle anti-social behaviour, drug use and dealing, road safety, call handling and off-road bikes. These are the areas I will prioritise as your Police and Crime Commissioner.

“Despite financial challenges, under my leadership, anti-social behaviour has reduced by 26 per cent and Durham has the highest number of officers they have had in a decade, but we still have 139 officers less than we did in 2010. This is because of an outdated and unfair funding formula that makes the rich forces richer and the poorer forces poorer. 

“Being tough on crime and the causes of crime has always been central to Labour’s approach to tackling crime. Communities should be able to live free from fear and insecurity and people should feel safe whether it is around the local high street, walking home at night, using the internet or even at home.”

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

Nigel Boddy 

"We deserve better from policing in Durham.

"Policing is broken in our area. Whether it's spending hours on hold to 101, or the fact that only 11 per cent of burglaries in Durham and Darlington were solved between October 2022 to September 2023, residents in Durham and Darlington deserve better. I will be a Police and Crime Commissioner who isn't afraid to get stuck in across County Durham and Darlington. You won't find me behind a desk, but out and about with our hardworking police officers. 

"As a professional solicitor, I have spent a lot of time with the police seeing the best, and sadly the worst of our area. I know our criminal justice system like the back of my hand and I know what we need to do to get this broken system working again.

"To make residents feel safe, we need to address poverty and work with young people at risk of being drawn into antisocial and criminal behaviour. We need our police to be valued and trusted, and to spend more of their time on crime and its prevention, to build a strong and caring society. And we need to listen more to residents and victims of crime and ensure we respond to their priorities too.”

The Northern Echo: Nigel Boddy, Liberal Democrat councillor for Durham Police and Crime Commissioner

Robert Potts

“Rather than wasting your money on PR and comms, I'll use it to increase evening foot-patrols in ASB hotspots.

“I will increase the size of the Operation Endurance team to directly target those driving off-road and quad bikes through our town centres, and get them off our streets.

“The closure of local community police stations puts you and your family in danger. I will block the closure of local stations and invest in neighbourhood policing.

“Rather than spending your money on my own office, I will invest in real police officers with the powers to arrest criminals. With more officers, we can target ASB hotspots and deliver faster response times.

“The current 101 service is not working. Call waiting times are far too long. Over 22,000 calls were abandoned in a six month period of 2023. I will recruit more call handlers to reduce waiting times.

“Public trust in the police is at breaking point. I will work hard to make Durham Constabulary fit for purpose and take action to restore pride.”

The Northern Echo: As a former police officer in County Durham, Robert Potts is hoping to upset the odds and become