PCC delivers on pledge to make County Durham safer, stronger and more resilient to crime and Anti-Social Behaviour.

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March 21, 2024

Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has reported on the strong progress made over the past eight months to root out criminals and those who cause harm to our communities and deliver justice for victims of crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Commissioner has published a new End of Year report setting out evidence of the improvements she has made against her Police and Crime Plan commitments between May and December 2023.

The report details the substantial extra funding the PCC has secured for the force area to tackle the crimes and ASB that matter to local people. This includes £1.5m from the Safer Streets 4 Fund to crackdown on anti-social behaviour (ASB), neighbourhood crime and boost women’s safety and a further £820k from the fifth round to tackle rural crime and fund further interventions to reduce ASB and Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).  

In fulfilling her Safer Communities commitment, the Commissioner has continued to invest in neighbourhood policing to better tackle localised crime and ASB. This has seen frontline officer capacity grow by 17.5 per cent, while Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) and the Special Constabulary has increased by 7.3 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.

In delivering action to tackle the public’s top priority of ASB, the PCC secured more than £2m from the Government for extra hotspot enforcement patrols in the areas worst affected by ASB and swift punishment for perpetrators in the communities where their offending took place.

In further work to tackle ASB, the PCC and partners implemented the ASB Case Review. This is a new tool enabling victims of ASB who have reported persistent incidents (three or more in six months) but are unhappy with the level of response to hold those agencies to account for solving their problems.

Durham is believed to be the only area in the country to invite victims of ASB to the Case Review and to provide statements of the harm they have endured.

In other success, the report covers the significant improvements in call handling following the PCC’s investment which has seen a 13.4 per cent increase in the number of 999 calls answered in 10 seconds and the changes she has made to better support businesses and retailers, rolling out a new online tool allowing them to upload evidence and statements direct to the police.

Welcoming her achievements, Commissioner Allen said: “I am proud of the ongoing improvements being made to protect residents and deliver the strong and effective service they have asked for. This success has not been achieved single-handedly, several partners have had a hand in our success and Durham is all the stronger for their efforts.

“Victims of crime remain central to everything I do. Alongside commissioning high-quality services to aid their recovery from crime, I have funded research to understand their ‘lived experiences’ so I can address any barriers to reporting and reduce further trauma during their journey.

“There has been additional work to prevent crime and reoffending and we continue to work with partners to deliver on my priority of diverting people from crime through a range of education, employment, leisure and training provision.

“There is still more I want to achieve but I cannot ignore the strain that a non-existent capital grant and inadequate funding from government is having on the service, nor the fact our headcount of officers is still below what it was in 2010. Additional investment is critical to drive forward the level of change to meet modern demands. I will continue to do everything in my power to secure the funding the people of County Durham and Darlington deserve.”

In delivering on her Road Safety pledge, the PCC funded a new specialist victims’ worker to enhance support for victims and witnesses of road fatalities and serious collisions including those who provide life-saving care at the scene. Meanwhile, the success of Operation Snap – the portal that allows the public to upload their own journey cam footage of traffic offences – has continued with 729 submissions made in 2023 – 90 per cent of which resulted in a positive outcome.

And in good news for rural communities, the Commissioner outlined plans at the end of last year to fund new technology such as drones, GPS trackers and Rural Watch coordinators and upgraded rural vehicles to boost safety in the countryside through the Safer Streets 5 initiative.

Read the report at the link below.

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