Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has welcomed new funding to recruit an extra 11 police officers over the next twelve months – but warns the uplift does not go far enough.
Chris Philp, Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire, wrote to the County Durham and Darlington PCC and Chief Constable Rachel Bacon to confirm the force’s success in the 2024-25 Additional Recruitment Scheme. The Force has been asked to recruit an extra eleven police officers above the number it needs to maintain its current headcount in 2024-25, bringing the total number of officers to 1379.
With the additional recruitment allocation, Durham Constabulary will receive a total of £48k per officer to cover salaries, training, and other associated recruitment costs. The funding is dependent on the Force achieving its full maintenance headcount and the extra eleven officers.
Commissioner Allen welcomed the extra officers but said the force was still 128 short of 2010 levels and renewed her calls for an overhaul of the current funding formula to level the playing field and increase support for areas with high demand and greater pockets of deprivation.
“Any influx in police officers is good news for our communities. These additional 11 officers will make a vital difference to the neighbourhoods they are asked to serve, supporting existing officers to tackle high-impact crimes and meet demand pressures.
“However, Durham is still trailing behind when it comes to police strength through no fault of our own. Unlike many forces which have seen their headcount grow beyond 100 officers, we have more than 100 less than 2010 and it is already starting to show.
“There is a limit to what can be realistically achieved when the odds are firmly stacked against us. Cutting crime and keeping people safe costs money. And we don’t have enough. And, while I am pleased at this small step in the right direction, I will make the point again that it is time for the Government to urgently rethink its current policy to remunerate police forces more fairly and restore our numbers to what they were before.”
The Commissioner reiterated that Durham still has the joint lowest budget per recorded crime out of similar sized forces. The rate is also below the national average.
This is despite the region falling into the highest band of permanent exclusions from schools in England, leaving more young people exposed to criminal exploitation and harm. Additionally, the north east also has the highest rates of drug and alcohol related deaths, which increases demand on policing.