OFFICERS from a neighbourhood policing team were visited by a special guest last week.

The Barnard Castle beat team played host to Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, who joined their team for the day.

The small team is led by neighbourhood inspector, Ed Turner, who covers a patch of more than 300 square miles covering both Teesdale and Weardale.

First to accompany Mr Hogg was PC Dave Williamson, who has been serving his community for 12 years.

He explained how often it is a friendly face can resolve incidents rather than using force.

He said: “Beat work is about gratuity – you need to get to know people and the community.

“It’s about trust and people see you as a person as opposed to just a police officer.”

Mr Hogg was also introduced to a farmer who had his quad bike stolen.

A prompt 999 call meant traffic officers were quickly despatched to chase down his most valuable piece of kit while the team also used CCTV and Teesdale Farm Watch – a team of volunteers who alert police to suspicious activity in the Dale – to locate it.

The rider ditched the quad in a layby but thanks to crime scene investigators, the culprit was identified.

Along with existing safeguards on his property, the farmer has also now fitted a tracker to his quad as an extra deterrent.

Mr Hogg also visited UTASS, in Middleton-in-Teesdale, where he spoke to members about the important role it plays.

Mr Hogg praised the police team for their efforts to work more collaboratively.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with the neighbourhood team and found it so valuable to meet all of the residents and hear about their issues.

“I am committed to the interests of rural communities."

Inspector Turner added: “The team were pleased to welcome Mr Hogg to Teesdale to see the important the work that officers, organisations and volunteers do in a unique part of the world.

“I look forward to working with him more closely on rural initiatives.”