Home Secretary James Cleverly has revealed the chances of bringing extra police officers to County Durham during a visit to the region on Thursday (May 16). 

Mr Cleverly paid a visit to Durham Police's training centre on Thursday to hear about new specialised training in investigating sexual offences that over 300 Durham Police officers have undertaken.

This will mean victims of these harrowing and often complex crimes will receive better support throughout the process as their perpetrators are brought to justice.

The Northern Echo: Home Secretary James CleverlyHome Secretary James Cleverly (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Alongside speaking about the training that officers have had, Mr Cleverly hit back at criticisms of newly re-elected Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen, who questioned why there are fewer officers than before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

PCC Allen has previously said the force was still 128 short of 2010 levels and renewed her calls for an overhaul of the current funding formula and increased support for areas with high demand and greater pockets of deprivation.

Speaking back in March, PCC Allen said: “Any influx in police officers is good news for our communities. These additional 11 officers will make a vital difference to the neighbourhoods they are asked to serve, supporting existing officers to tackle high-impact crimes and meet demand pressures.

“However, Durham is still trailing behind when it comes to police strength through no fault of our own. Unlike many forces which have seen their headcount grow beyond 100 officers, we have more than 100 less than in 2010 and it is already starting to show.”

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However, speaking about the probability of bringing new officers to County Durham - the Home Secretary said: "There is money on the table for police and crime commissioners for extra officers. In Essex, there has been significant investment in police officers - and I would question the Durham Police and Crime Commission and believe she should have numerous questions asked of her and the lack of officers.

"PPCs across the country - they have been able to turn money into officers on the streets. The money was there, if she has failed to do so - the people of the Durham force area can legitimately ask her some searching questions.

"My part is ensuring that officers that are in police forces have the most up-to-date training. We've seen that this morning - and I want to make sure we continue to put police officers on the beat, we give them the support and training they need."