Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has thrown her full support behind Chief Constable Rachel Bacon’s pledge to bolster officer numbers across the county as the UK marks a national campaign.
The County Durham and Darlington PCC said neighbourhood policing remains the bedrock of British policing and said she would do everything possible to back the Chief Constable’s recruitment plans to deliver the strong and effective local policing the public deserves.
She was speaking as Neighbourhood Policing Week of Action got underway – an annual campaign running from 22-26 January highlighting the vital work that neighbourhood officers, police community support officers (PCSOs) and volunteers do to protect the public and keep people safe.
During the week, officers will showcase their achievements in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour and some of the partnership work underway to make County Durham and Darlington a safer place to live.
In one of her first public engagements in her new role, Chief Constable Rachel Bacon spoke of her commitment to put more police officers and PCSOs on the streets ready to respond to the public whenever they were needed.
The force is actively recruiting new police officers and has additional PCSOs currently in training, who will soon be on patrol across County Durham and Darlington. Many more will be joining in the coming months.
Commissioner Allen said: “Durham’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams are the face of the force and work side by side with our community partners to provide residents with the visible and effective help they deserve. This is why I value them so highly and why I’ve fought so hard since 2021 to protect them.
“The Chief Constable has made neighbourhood policing a clear priority since her appointment and I proudly support this approach. Developing strong and identifiable neighbourhood policing teams who deliver what they say they will do and tackle the issues that worry our communities most will help build trust and confidence in policing overall and reduce fear.
“Durham remains a high performing Force and we are determined to keep it that way by hiring the best people possible to turn our ambitions into reality.
“It is a harsh fact that many forces, including Durham, are still short of the officer levels they had in 2010 and are fighting tooth and nail to build resilience and sustain the outstanding safety progress made to date.
“I will continue to fight for a radical change in policy from the Government to ensure funding is distributed more equitably in future so that areas like Durham, with lower population growth, rising demand and deep-rooted social-economic problems to address, are given a fairer slice of the cake and can continue to make a difference to people’s lives.”
Earlier this month, Durham Constabulary introduced the new Police Constable Entry Route (PCEP) – a new two-year training programme that integrates classroom-based learning with on-the-job experiences, facilitated by experienced colleagues and an in-house training team.
Unlike the other three entries, the PCEP route does not require applicants to complete a degree as part of their assessment and probation, if they do not have one before joining.