Durham Constabulary

As one of the top-performing police forces in the UK, Durham Constabulary pride themselves on doing things differently, and doing them well.

Chief Constable

Rachel Bacon

Chief Constable Rachel Bacon, who was previously Deputy Chief Constable of South Wales Police, has a 27-year career in policing, having also served in both Sussex and Northumbria.

Mrs Bacon’s policing career began with Sussex Police in 1995 where she worked in local policing and crime investigation.

Following her role as a local policing commander in West Sussex, she became senior investigating officer across Sussex and Surrey and later Head of Crime and Safeguarding for Sussex. She also led collaborated specialist crime units. Mrs Bacon transferred to Northumbria Police as Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for change, custody, criminal justice and communications in 2017. She later took responsibility for crime, safeguarding and the Regional Organised Crime Unit and as an accredited strategic firearms and public order commander, has led many complex and serious operations on behalf of Northumbria Police.

Chief Constable Rachel Bacon said she would place an even greater emphasis on neighbourhood policing as part of a renewed focus on connecting with our communities.

Mrs Bacon has been serving as Deputy Chief Constable of South Wales Police since 2021 where she has ensured the force remains at the forefront of crime reduction nationally.

On top of her force responsibilities, she is the UK police lead for mental health and works nationally to improve policing services and police interaction in this area. This includes leading a national project to implement Right Care Right Person to ensure that the right service responds to calls impacting those in mental health crisis.

In addition, she is a member of the national Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Committee as the UK police lead for age. A keen outdoor enthusiast, Mrs Bacon is married to a member of a Mountain Rescue Team.’

Deputy Chief Constable

Ciaron Irvine

Born in Liverpool, Ciaron Irvine initially moved to the North-East to study at Durham University prior to joining the police service in 1994.  

His family has strong links with policing over many generations, with many of his close relatives serving as police officers or elsewhere in public service as health professionals.

He said: “I am proud to continue that family tradition and especially proud to be doing so in Durham with this role in the Constabulary”. Ciaron has worked in mainly uniform and specialist operations/support roles, including time as Head of the force Control Room, Criminal Justice and as a District Commander for Redcar & Cleveland.

As a Chief Superintendent in Cleveland, he set up the Force Tasking & Coordination Command, learning lessons from the Durham model at the time.  In that role he had responsibility for daily operational tasking, the management of intelligence and force performance.

More recently, Ciaron served as Temporary Assistant Chief Constable both in Cleveland and North Yorkshire, prior to his posting as Cleveland’s lead for Business Services, having completed the Strategic Command Course in 2018.

He is an accredited firearms, public order and multi-agency gold commander with experience of major public and sporting events at all levels.He added: “In all my leadership roles I have always sought to ensure that we deliver the best possible service to our communities alongside taking a keen interest in the welfare and wellbeing of our staff”.

Assistant Chief Constable

Tonya Antonis

Tonya Antonis, joined Durham Constabulary after previously holding the post of Chief Superintendent with Suffolk Constabulary. Tonya has held a variety of roles in policing, for much of her 26-career she has specialised in Safeguarding, managing a number of high-profile investigations into Child Abuse; Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Children; Adult Abuse; Honour Base Abuse; Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking.

He said: “My passion has always been neighbourhood policing: understanding the impact that crime and antisocial behaviour has on our communities and doing everything we can to deal with it together.

Assistant Chief Constable

Richie Allen

Born in Alnwick, Richie Allen’s entire 23-year police career has been spent serving the communities of County Durham and Darlington.He started out as a police constable on the beat in Bishop Auckland in 2000 and went on to serve first as a neighbourhood sergeant in Crook and then a custody sergeant in Newton Aycliffe.

After periods in response policing and operations planning, Richie became Head of Neighbourhoods in 2018 and spearheaded the force’s response to policing the Covid-19 pandemic. More recently as Head of Local Policing, he has overseen operational response policing across the force and in October 2023 was appointed Acting Assistant Chief Constable.

He said: “My passion has always been neighbourhood policing: understanding the impact that crime and antisocial behaviour has on our communities and doing everything we can to deal with it together.

“We get our best results when we work with our communities, respond to the intelligence they gave us and work together to solve problems and keep people safe.”

The Policing Protocol

The Policing Protocol 2023 replaces the Policing Protocol issued under the Policing Protocol Order 2011. It sets out to Police and Crime Commissioners, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, Chief Constables, Police and Crime Panels and the London Assembly Police and Crime Panel how their functions will be exercised in relation to each other.

The Protocol outlines what these bodies are expected to do and how they should work together effectively whilst also having respect for each party's statutory functions which will enhance policing for local communities. The Police and Crime Commissioner within each force area has a statutory duty and electoral mandate to hold the police to account on behalf of the public whilst also allowing operational independence of the police force and the Chief Constable who leads it. The Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable must work together to safeguard the principle of operational independence,while ensuring that the Police and Crime Commissioner is not obstructed in fulfilling their statutory role.

Download the Policing Protocol document.
Durham Police Crest

Strategic Policing Requirement

The Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) 2023 plays a crucial role in allowing the Home Secretary to set the direction against the biggest threats to public safety and ensuring the police have the capabilities to deliver an appropriately robust, national response ensuring common sense policing prevails. 

The revised SPR provides, for the first time, strengthened detail around the action required from policing at the local and regional level to the critical national threats. It supports policing, both Chief Constables and PCCs, to plan, prepare and respond to these threats by clearly linking the local response to the national, highlighting the capabilities and partnerships that policing needs to ensure it can fulfil its national responsibilities.

New accountability and oversight arrangements mean that the public will now see a clear reference to the SPR in police and crime plans, including how it has shaped the strategic direction and objectives in forces and therefore how that force, contributes to tackling national priority threats.

Download the Strategic Policing Requirement document.

Financial Management Code of Practice

The financial management code of practice provides clarity around the financial governance arrangements within policing. It also applies to Police and Crime Commissioners in England who are also Fire and Rescue Authorities under section 4A of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004.

Download the Financial Management Code of Practice document.

Local Governance Arrangements

Governance is about how the Police and Crime Commissioner's Officer ensures they are doing things right, in a timely, inclusive, open and accountable manner.

This Code of Corporate Governance describes how we discharge our responsibilities in this respect, and particularly our two overarching statutory responsibilities:
1. To secure an efficient and effective local police service
2. To hold to account the Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary for the exercise of his functions and those of persons under his direction and control.

Code of Corporate Governance