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Meet the Top Team

 Mike Barton

Michael Barton
Chief Constable
Durham Constabulary

Michael is a proud Lancastrian and adopted North Easterner who served in Lancashire Constabulary for 28 years before joining Durham Constabulary in 2008 as Assistant Chief Constable. He has been Chief Constable since 2012.

Michael has led new ways of tackling organised criminals with local beat officers and PCSOs through challenging traditional ways of policing and encouraging paradigm shifts. Durham is now recognised as a leading force in tackling serious and organised crime as well as managing offenders. A glance at the most recent HMIC PEEL inspection will show a police force at the top of its game with an enviable slew of outstanding grades. He attributes this to inspired and positive staff that have their feet on the ground and a burning desire to look after victims of crime and anti-social behaviour. The most often repeated phrase of visitors to Durham Constabulary is ‘it feels different here!’

He has long been a keen exponent of problem-orientated policing and integrated offender management, including restorative justice, and has successfully embedded these concepts in Lancashire and Durham.

Michael is the National Policing Lead for Crime and intends to use this position to ensure British Policing is in the vanguard of tackling crime on the internet.

He has attracted a degree of media attention through his advocacy for a ‘grown up’ debate on drugs – challenging the efficacy of outright prohibition.

Michael at his worst has been described as a maverick and at his best as a maverick. He has enjoyed a few scrapes and still pinches himself every morning that someone asked him to be a Chief Constable.



Jo Farrell
Deputy Chief Constable

Jo Farrell joined Northumbria Police in 2002 as a Chief Inspector, having previously served within Cambridgeshire Constabulary. In total she has 25 years policing service.

As an Assistant Chief Constable at Northumbria she had responsibility for response and neighbourhood policing as well as the communications department. She was also the force lead for mental health matters.

Her service profile within the police is extensive and varied, working predominantly within operational and neighbourhood duties.

Jo has also performed specialist public order and firearms duties, completing the Gold Commander’s course in both fields, and in January 2013 she completed the Strategic Command Course.She has extensive experience in the strategic management of high profile events and critical incidents and took up her post as DCC in Durham in mid-November 2016.“I was delighted to join the team at Durham. I relish the challenge of becoming the Deputy Chief Constable and will work to ensure the constabulary continues to deliver a top quality service to the communities of Durham and Darlington.”

She is married to a retired police officer and has two stepsons and a daughter. Away from work, Mrs Farrell enjoys family life, cooking and keeping fit.



Dave Orford
Assistant Chief Constable

After growing up in County Durham, Dave attended Manchester University gaining a degree in physics before being commissioned into the Royal Engineers. After leaving the Army he joined his home force in 1995 as a police constable at Consett. Dave has worked in all response and neighbourhood ranks across the county from Peterlee, to Darlington to Bishop Auckland.

He also spent time in specialist roles within Firearms Operations, Training and Professional Standards. This included heading up the joint firearms training facility with Cleveland Police.

Prior to promotion to Assistant Chief Constable Dave was Chief Superintendent of the Tasking and Co-ordinating Command within the force, encompassing operational police intelligence, planning and resourcing, and corporate support activities.

Dave is very keen on mountain sports and can often be found on his mountain bike in the summer and skis in the winter.





Gary Ridley
Assistant Chief Officer

Gary Ridley was born in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear.  He worked at Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council between 1985 and 1996 in a variety of roles in the Finance Department and Chief Executive’s Department.  During his time there he completed two accountancy courses including the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy.  

He then worked at Castle Morpeth Council in Northumberland as Assistant Borough Treasurer for 10 months before joining Wear Valley Council as Head of Finance in 1997.  He became Strategic Director of Resource Management in 2001 at Wear Valley where he played a leading role in the management of the council.  He also led the Councils 2008 Comprehensive Performance Assessment process during which the council was awarded an “excellent” rating.  In May 2008, Gary became Acting Chief Executive of Wear Valley Council.  

Gary joined Durham Constabulary on 12 January 2009 as Assistant Chief Officer with responsibility for Finance, ICT, Estates, Business Support and Personnel and Development.  He completed an MBA at Newcastle University in 2010.


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