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Durham 2018/19

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This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Durham Constabulary. PEEL is designed to give you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year.

Durham Constabulary was inspected in tranche one and we found:

the extent to which the force is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe is outstanding.

the extent to which the force operates efficiently and sustainably is outstanding.

the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.

Download the full report

PEEL: Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy 2018/19 – Durham Constabulary

Phil Gormley, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary


HMI's observations

I congratulate Durham Constabulary on its excellent performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The constabulary is outstanding at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and at tackling serious and organised crime. It investigates crime well. It also works effectively with other agencies to identify and protect vulnerable people.

The constabulary has a comprehensive understanding of demand. It has used this to develop robust financial and workforce plans to make sure it uses its resources efficiently. I am particularly pleased with its approach to investment and use of technology in its future plans.

Senior leaders make sure that the workforce understands the importance of treating the public and each other with fairness and respect. The constabulary promotes the standards of professional behaviour it expects. This is well understood by the workforce.

Overall, I congratulate Durham Constabulary for its excellent performance over the past year. I am confident that it is well equipped for this to continue.


How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?

Last updated 02/05/2019

Overall, Durham Constabulary remains outstanding in its effectiveness at reducing crime and keeping people safe. It continues to provide high-quality services to its communities, as well as seeking to innovate and improve in many areas.

The constabulary is good at investigating crime. It has the right structures in place to investigate incidents. The quality of these investigations is impressive, as well as the constabulary’s victim care. It has done much to improve its crime investigations which has led to more positive outcomes for victims in the finalisation of an investigation.

The constabulary introduced a performance management framework to manage and monitor:

  • its use of bail; and
  • suspects under investigation.

It does a risk assessment of the suspect before releasing them from custody. This helps it ensure it takes all opportunities to attach conditions and place suspects in diversionary schemes. By this, it aims to reduce re-offending.

Durham Constabulary is good at protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims. It is effective at identifying vulnerable people at the first point of contact. Throughout the constabulary, we found excellent understanding of what makes people vulnerable and how they need to be supported. Officers give a good service to victims when they initially respond to incidents.

The constabulary understands well the nature and scale of vulnerability caused by mental health crises. It works effectively with partners in this area.

The constabulary has a strong commitment to work with partner agencies to protect vulnerable people. This allows it to:

  • give vulnerable people a service that meets their specific needs;
  • manage offenders who pose the greatest risk and threat; and
  • provide diversionary schemes to reduce re-offending.

In 2016, we judged the constabulary as outstanding at preventing crime and tackling serious and organised crime.

View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?

Last updated 02/05/2019

Durham Constabulary remains outstanding in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

The constabulary assesses future demand well, using a sophisticated approach. It strives to understand what the public expects, and to manage their expectations. Its future workforce plans are strong and recruitment tightly managed. The constabulary’s financial plans are sound, realistic and aligned with its priorities. It looks for continuous improvement rather than transformation.

The constabulary’s ICT strategy is impressive and comprehensive. This seeks to develop products and services that meet identified needs.

The constabulary has refined its approach to leadership over the last four years. This includes a talent development programme as well as examining organisational attitudes and behaviours.

Its medium-term financial plan is based on credible assumptions. These include:

  • a summary of expected funding; and
  • its use of reserves aligned against workforce budgeted posts for the number of police officers, staff and PCSOs.

In 2017 we assessed the constabulary as outstanding for meeting current demand and using its resources.

View the two questions for efficiency


How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?

Last updated 02/05/2019

Durham Constabulary is good in how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

There is a strong ethos within Durham Constabulary of ethical decision making. Staff are supported in the decisions they make as long as they can demonstrate good decision making. The constabulary gives all staff an information pack about the Code of Ethics to help them act ethically and fairly.

In 2016 we found that the constabulary was not complying with all aspects of national vetting guidelines. It has now done so, and has up-to-date vetting in place for the whole workforce.

At the time of our inspection the constabulary had no counter-corruption strategy. But it does have plans to rectify this. It also has mechanisms in place to encourage the workforce to report corruption.

In 2017, we judged the constabulary to be good at treating its workforce, and all of the people it serves, with fairness and respect.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

How well has the force performed in our other inspections?

In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.

Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

938 square miles


0.641m people
up4% local 10 yr change


92% frontline police officers
92% national level
3.61 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
down3% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.07 per person
0.06 national level
up43% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


56p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • The constabulary works both within larger towns, some with significant deprivation, and rural, sparsely populated areas.
  • In 2017/18 it dealt with 185,573 incidents, and recorded 61,362 crime, a 32 percent increase from 2016/2017.

Police and crime plan priorities

A PCP sets out the police and crime commissioner’s (PCC’s) priorities for policing and the resources the PCC has allocated to the chief constable for achieving these priorities.