Image: Durham Constabulary and Northumbria Police logos
The first phase of merging the existing two services will begin this week with the anticipated completion in winter next year.
While the headquarters will be based at Peterlee in County Durham, crime scene investigators will also remain at stations in Northumbria to ensure that they are readily accessible across the force.
It is anticipated a joint function will be more cost effective as well as allowing both forces to benefit from the skills of a number of forensic specialists.
The new service will provide support to crime investigations across both forces from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Darlington.
The forensic services function is where scientific support, such as crime scene investigation, fingerprints and footwear comparisons are based.
This function is vital for the progression of most criminal investigations.
The head of Durham Constabulary’s Business Change team Supt Chris Curtis said: “Working with Northumbria Police to offer a joint forensic services function makes great sense.
“Once the collaboration is complete and the new working arrangements are in place, we will be offering members of the public across Northumbria and Durham a better value for money service, with a larger number of specialist forensic experts at their disposal.
“From Durham’s perspective we are really looking forward to working closely with our colleagues at Northumbria Police over the coming months as we complete all of the necessary actions needed to successfully merge our existing forensic functions.”
Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said: “I am a strong supporter of collaborating with our partners, where we can offer a good service. By working together, this new arrangement will enable both forces to be more efficient and effective over the coming years.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, said: “This is another example of excellent collaboration work taking place in the North East. By sharing resources and pooling expertise we will improve our forensic provision and the service we deliver to the public, and importantly, we will do so at a reduced cost. I am determined to make savings wherever possible to allow us to re-invest all savings back into Northumbria Police.
Detective Superintendent, Christina Barrett, from Northumbria Police said, "We are really looking forward to working with Durham on this project. We already have an excellent forensic services team here at Northumbria and by joining up with the skilled team at Durham we will be able to have access to a wider range of skills and numbers of investigators. Although the headquarters will be in Durham a large number of our investigators will remain in Northumbria making sure that we have the right skills in the right places.”
Posted on Tuesday 27th September 2016