Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has received full approval for her latest Annual Report detailing the sweeping safety improvements she made in 2022-23.
The Police and Crime Panel has unanimously endorsed the County Durham and Darlington PCC’s Annual Report 2022-23.
The report outlines how the Commissioner has maximised public funds to deliver stronger local policing and secured millions of pounds in extra funding from the government to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB).
It shows in the 12 months to 31 March 2023 ASB incidents plummeted by 30 per cent – the equivalent of 6,000 fewer offences – while residential burglary rates reduced by 3.3 per cent.
During the reporting period, the force also seized more than 285kg of drugs (100kg more than the previous year) and safeguarded 198 adults and 92 children.
Delivering on her Safer Roads pledge, the Commissioner reported an 8.2 per cent reduction in the volume of road collisions and an 8.2 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads.
Other achievements include the roll out of Operation Snap, the portal for enabling people to upload journey cam footage to help police prosecute dangerous drivers, which has received 475 submissions since the start of the year– leading to positive actions in 317 cases.
Rural crime rates, meanwhile, remain the lowest in the country and continue to buck the national trend as reported in the National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU) Rural Crime Report 2023. The Commissioner has also kept her promise to increase sign up to proactive crime prevention schemes with a 33.8 per cent uplift in members to Rural Watch and the launch of 10 WhatsApp groups sharing intelligence and prevention advice across rural areas.
Commissioner Allen said: “I am proud of the progress that has been made despite having lost a full year of my term due to the delayed election.
“None of the success would have been possible without the hard work of the Chief Constable, officers, staff, volunteers and our many partners. Durham remains one of the one of the best-performing forces in the country – a position I am determined to maintain.
“I know how much our communities appreciate the increased visibility on our streets, the stronger response to issues that matter to them and the extra resources and training to help officers do their jobs better. They have made the improvements contained in this report possible.
“Keeping our officers visible and accessible in the heart of the communities in which they serve is paramount to me and this will not change.
“Over the next 12 months, the service people receive will improve even further. I have agreed significant investment in our call-answering capabilities with the roll out of a new £1.5m cloud-based telephony platform on the way and full implementation of Single Online Home, a national system allowing the public to report crimes and incidents online and even upload CCTV evidence without speaking to an operator, happening in April. A new cohort of call handlers will also be operational by November – this coincides with extended opening hours for our switchboard and a new 24/4 Live Chat facility.
“These changes will help to reduce the demands on our call handlers who are already under tremendous pressure and will increase public satisfaction. They have been funded by the money local people pay towards council tax because of the absence of a capital grant from government.
“The threats facing our communities are changing, the methods of criminals more sophisticated. We simply cannot afford to sit still.
“This is why I continue to rally the support of our MPs and lobby the government for a more sustainable funding formula to protect the good work that has already put us on the map.
“In a changing world, I am proud of everything that has already been achieved and look forward to further success over the coming year. I remain on track to deliver my full plan and will continue to listen and serve the public to deliver on the issues that concern them most.”
Other highlights from the Commissioner’s Annual Report include the force’s inclusion in a new Home Office pilot worth £4.4m to the force area.
The funding will deliver extra ‘hotspot policing’ patrols in the areas worst impacted by ASB and a new Immediate Justice scheme to make perpetrators of ASB repair the damage they cause to victims.
In further developments, the Commissioner’s new ASB Champion, whose appointment was a key Police and Crime Plan commitment, has supported 1,235 victims of ASB during 2022-23.
The Commissioner has also launched with partners a new Case Review process providing victims with the opportunity of holding to account those agencies responsible for solving their ASB problems.
The force area is believed to be the first in the country to offer this process which gives victims the opportunity to attend case reviews and provide statements of the harm they have endured.
For the full report please visit 654d3df8fc27816464682cb7_Durham PCC Annual Report 2022-23 rev02 Nov compressed.pdf (website-files.com)