Skip to content

Durham PEEL 2015


How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 18/02/2016

Durham Constabulary is outstanding at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

Its approach to preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour is innovative and based on finding long-term sustainable solutions. Crime is investigated thoroughly and considerable effort is placed on reducing re-offending. Vulnerable people are protected well and officers know the importance of reassuring victims. The constabulary understands the threat from serious and organised crime and tackles it as a priority at all levels.
This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.

Durham Constabulary places considerable emphasis on providing long-term solutions to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. Officers and staff take time to understand issues and adopt a problem-solving approach, using partner agencies when necessary, to provide sustainable solutions.

The constabulary attends all reports of crime and most other incidents and enjoys good levels of public satisfaction. The rates for positive conclusions, or outcomes, as a result of investigating crimes are among the highest in England and Wales, and recorded crime is lower than it was during the first year of the spending review.

Neighbourhood policing remains central to the way in which policing is delivered and the constabulary has excellent relationships with other public service partners. It has developed new and innovative methods to communicate with the public to understand what concerns them most and to feed back the results of police and partner action.

Officers are appropriately trained to investigate crime and anti-social behaviour and do so to a good standard. Investigators can draw on additional support from specialist departments to assist them in identifying offenders and developing investigations. Arresting suspects is treated as a priority.

The management of offenders is good. Officers work with partners to understand why offenders commit crime and then encourage each offender to follow a suitable route out of offending. The constabulary applies effective scrutiny to the most problematical offenders, both to support them to live better lives and to monitor their offending behaviour.

Vulnerable people are protected by the constabulary. Officers have received a significant level of training to enable them to support vulnerable victims appropriately.

Considerable efforts are made by all departments to build intelligence and use innovative approaches to disrupt organised crime groups. The continued support and investment made by partners has been particularly noteworthy in allowing the constabulary to have a comprehensive understanding of serious and organised crime and to have a broad range of interventions at its disposal to tackle it.

Overall, Durham Constabulary is outstanding at keeping people safe and reducing crime.


Questions for Effectiveness


How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?


Durham Constabulary places a clear emphasis on crime prevention and delivering long-term solutions through effective analysis of issues and problem-solving. This is evident among staff and across all departments throughout the constabulary. The chief constable takes a personal lead as champion for this approach.

The constabulary is committed to local policing teams working effectively in neighbourhoods to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. Frontline resources have been maintained to ensure neighbourhood teams can solve local crime and anti-social behaviour issues with supportive partner agencies.

Excellent links have been established with partner agencies who assist the constabulary with additional resources and enforcement tactics to address crime and anti-social behaviour at an early stage.

HMIC found many good examples of the constabulary working innovatively to prevent and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and make the best use of appropriate legal powers.

Good arrangements are in place through neighbourhood teams and community cohesion officers to communicate with the public, identify issues and update them on the service being provided by the constabulary.


How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?


Durham Constabulary has an excellent record of solving crime and bringing offenders to justice. It has a policy to attend all crime incidents to carry out an effective initial investigation. Good arrangements are in place to identify suspects at an early stage and to prioritise their arrest to prevent them from re-offending.

Crime enquiries are allocated to appropriately trained staff who have the necessary time and resources to carry out good quality investigations.

Digital evidence is gathered and assessed appropriately.

Good relationships exist with partner agencies to deal with persistent offenders in a holistic way to break their cycle of offending. This approach involves a strong element of victim reparation, offender rehabilitation and ensures the underlying reasons behind each offender committing crime are identified and addressed.

While offenders are managed appropriately by dedicated staff across the constabulary with partner agencies, there is scope for the constabulary to involve frontline policing teams more in the routine monitoring of registered sex offenders resident in some communities.


How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?


Protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims is a high priority for Durham Constabulary. Both the police and crime commissioner and the chief constable are committed strongly to improving services to protect and support vulnerable people and victims.

The constabulary has clear and consistent processes in place to identify repeat and vulnerable victims. Regular and robust supervisory processes are in place for the oversight and scrutiny of incidents to ensure an appropriate and timely response.

To help achieve the constabulary’s commitment to improve the services provided to vulnerable people, it has made a significant investment in training staff.

The constabulary uses innovative ways of working to protect and support vulnerable people, often in partnership with other agencies.

Good arrangements are in place with partner agencies to keep vulnerable people safe. The constabulary is working hard to enhance these arrangements further.

Overall the constabulary provides a good response to missing children and safeguards them. It is making good progress in its preparedness to tackle child sexual exploitation.

HMIC found that the constabulary is doing effective work to tackle domestic abuse and staff understand how to safeguard domestic abuse victims. The constabulary uses technology to improve its response and provide support to victims.


How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?


Durham Constabulary has a comprehensive understanding of serious and organised crime through a thorough assessment of intelligence gained through its own resources and from partner information. Excellent partnership arrangements are in place to continue to build intelligence and to investigate and disrupt serious and organised crime across the constabulary area.

Responsibility for leading the response to tackling organised crime groups is clearly set out and there are good arrangements in place to ensure that all staff understand and challenge organised crime groups as an ongoing and priority activity throughout the constabulary.

Senior managers oversee a governance structure which monitors the response to organised crime and which is able to draw on the full support of a broad range of partner agencies.

The constabulary has appropriate arrangements in place to meet its national policing responsibilities and is developing a capacity to tackle cyber-enabled crime.

This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their effectiveness at tackling serious and organised crime, including a force’s arrangements for ensuring that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.