A PROBATION service says staff are "working tirelessly" to make communities in the North-East safer.

Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), which provides probation services across County Durham and Darlington and Teesside, has been rated as "good".

The result of the inspection, published today, was an improvement on its previous one in 2018, when the service was rated as requiring improvement.

A spokesperson for the CRC said: "We are pleased HMIP recognise the huge amount of work that has gone into improving our service in the last year.

"Our staff have worked tirelessly to make our communities safer.

"Every report brings areas for improvement and we acknowledge more work needed to be done particularly in areas relating to domestic abuse and child safeguarding. Staff have undertaken a comprehensive training programme in those areas.

"We are confident a further inspection would highlight continued improvements in our casework.”

Six recommendations were made to improve the service.

Among the areas which still need improvement is the identification and management of potential risks of harm, including with victims of domestic abuse and child safeguarding.

The report showed officers' caseloads increased this year, while just under 70 per cent of probation officers described their caseload as "unmanageable".

Inspectors praised the quality of work done with people under probation supervision and said there is better support for those leaving prison.