Durham Constabulary has been rated the top performing police force in the country. After evaluating all 43 forces in England and Wales through its PEEL (Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) report, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) confirmed this week that Durham was ‘outstanding’ at effectively keeping people safe and reducing crime. Durham was the only force to receive an overall grade of ‘outstanding’.
In particular, Durham Constabulary was considered ’outstanding’ at investigating crime and managing offenders, tackling serious and organised crime as well as preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. In another areas, such as protecting the vulnerable, the force was graded ‘good’.
Mike Cunningham, from the HMIC, noted that Durham Constabulary ‘‘is the only police force in England and Wales that has received this judgment from HMIC for this inspection and deserves to be commended.” He added: “There is a strong focus at all levels on effectively carrying out investigations into crime in Durham Constabulary.’’
This news comes a few months after Durham constabulary was also regarded ‘outstanding’ when considering ‘how efficient is the police force at keeping people safe and reducing crime’. Given the fact that central funding to the police in England and Wales was cut by 20% in October 2010 by the coalition Government, this in itself was an exceptional feat. Indeed, the Chronicle Live has reported that the County Durham force, the ‘ninth smallest in the UK’, received ‘a £22 million cut in funding from 2010–2019’.
Discussing this week’s news, Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “Once again we are adjudged to be at the pinnacle of policing and the benchmark for others to follow. I was absolutely delighted when the force was identified as being the best in the country last year so to maintain that standing is even more impressive. This is a massive pat on the back for everyone who works for the Force. I hope every employee has an extra spring in their step today because it is their continued professionalism and dedication which has put the force in a fantastic position for the future.”
Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner, was similarly delighted: “I would like to congratulate all members of Durham Constabulary on these terrific results. To achieve such a glowing report in the current austere times is really impressive. I think the people of County Durham and Darlington can be confident that they are being served by the best police force in the country.’’
Elsewhere in the country the news wasn’t as positive. 24 forces were described as ‘good’ whilst 18 forces need ‘improvement.’ However, no force was found to be inadequate.