THE chief constable of Durham Police has paid a visit to Darlington to meet officers and carry out a beat patrol.

Mike Barton, who took over the top job in February, is visiting each of the towns in the force area and was in Darlington town centre on Friday.

Mr Barton said it was important for him to meet officers on the front line and praised the co-operation between his staff and the Darlington town centre rangers, who work to keep the area clean and welcoming for residents and visitors.

“I think that all bosses should know what it’s like on the ground floor,” he said. “Once or twice a week I make sure that I speak to frontline staff so that I understand exactly what’s happening and I don’t make mistakes when I make decisions.”

In the past some people in Darlington have accused Durham Police of neglecting the town, something Mr Barton said he did not recognise any more.

He said: “I know people think that [Darlington is neglected] but it’s the area that takes up most of my attention. A quarter of all my resources are deployed here. If crime goes up in Darlington then it rises for the whole force.

“It’s not forgotten as far as the constabulary is concerned.”