The PCC holds the Chief Constable to account and where she formally documents any key decisions relating to the police service.

The OPCC carries out a wide-ranging programme of external scrutiny via groups and panels made up of partners and members of the community. The individual groups and panels scrutinise a wide range of topics in differing ways; for example, some look at process whilst others look at outcomes and quality of provision.  All groups contribute to accountability and monitoring of the Police and Crime Plan.

It has also been acknowledged that Durham Constabulary can and do carry out their own internal assurance processes to learn and develop as an organisation, but the OPCC carry out their own independent scrutiny of the police. Effective and meaningful scrutiny is a key tool for the PCC in carrying out her duties and assists in holding the force to account and delivery of the Police and Crime Plan objectives.

A recent review has been undertaken by Sweety Sahani-Head of Business Services and this report was presented to the Police and Crime Panel on 15th February 2024.


The main findings were:
• To ensure recommendations and organisational learning from scrutiny panels are disseminated across the force.
• A need for more representation from younger people to seek their views and experiences.
• A need for regular monitoring of a comprehensive set of data on officers’ Use of Force/ Stop & Search to understand if they are applying it proportionately and fairly.
• Frequency of Panels to be considered to maximise focused outcomes.
• To ensure representation is diverse and balanced across all communities.
• To ensure all relevant scrutiny panel information is available and accessible on OPCC website.
• To ensure appropriate training is delivered to all panel members.
• Robust challenging processes to further improve training to officers and to understand concerns from its communities.

External scrutiny panels are an additional mechanism for the PCC to hold the force to account and forms part of the wider OPCC accountability Framework. Scrutiny Panels consist of the following:
• Custody Detention Panel
• Best Use of Stop and Search/Use of Force (BUSS)
• Complaints
• Independent Ethics Committee
• Independent Custody Visitors Scheme
• Out of Court Disposal Scrutiny Panel (OoCD)
• ASB Case Review-Appeal Body