Police forces in North East rated after visit by inspectors
Durham Constabulary achieved the highest possible 'outstanding' grading for the third year running after a visit from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
Northumbria Police, meanwhile, was given an overall rating of 'good', but was warned it must improve its effectiveness in protecting vulnerable people.
Cleveland Police was also given a 'good' rating overall, but told that it needs to ensure that vulnerable people consistently receive an effective service.
The independent reports look into how effective police forces are at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
Northumbria Police already held 'good' ratings from a previous inspection relating to how it prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour, and tackles serious and organised crime.
It has now been graded as 'good' for investigating crime and reducing re-offending, and classed as 'requires improvement' for protecting vulnerable people.
Darren Best, the temporary deputy chief constable of Northumbria Police, said: "We are pleased inspectors have recognised we do a good job when it comes to keeping people safe and reducing crime.
“They have also praised a number of initiatives, most notably where we work with partners to protect and support vulnerable victims.
“However, we are obviously disappointed where areas have been identified for improvement.
"I can reassure the public that a great deal of progress has already been made to address these – but we are far from complacent and this work continues at pace.
“I want to make it absolutely clear, that protecting the vulnerable in our communities and ensuring they are fully supported at every stage are without a shadow of a doubt our top priorities.”
Durham Constabulary, meanwhile, again achieved the highest possible grading.
The force was judged by HMICFRS to be outstanding at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour, and also at dealing with serious and organised crime.
It was also found to be good at investigating crime and protecting vulnerable people.
Durham was the only force in the country to achieve the top grade of 'outstanding' overall.
Jo Farrell, the deputy chief constable of Durham Constabulary, said: "We face the same problems as other forces: austerity, increased demand and having to police the internet.
“But every time the inspection teams have visited over the last 12 months, they have commented that ‘it feels different here’.
“We have very positive, optimistic, professional staff who work as a team and deliver an outstanding service to the people of County Durham and Darlington.
“These brilliant people are supported by software we write ourselves and that’s probably what gives us our marginal edge."
The report is the third and final part of the annual Peel (Police Efficiency, Effectiveness and Legitimacy) inspections, which are regular reviews of each of the UK’s 43 forces.
This is the third time that the full Peel inspection programme has been conducted and the third time that Durham has been rated outstanding.
Cleveland Police received a 'good' rating overall for its effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
HMICFRS concluded that the force had made progress in all areas inspected.
It also found, however, that the force needs to take further action to ensure that vulnerable people consistently receive an effective service.
That includes raising the quality of risk assessments, referring domestic abuse cases to a multi-agency risk assessment conference appropriately and in a timely manner and managing effectively the risks posed by registered sex offenders.
Assistant chief constable Jason Harwin said: “I am pleased that the improvements that have been made in the force since the last HMICFRS efficiency inspection in 2016 have been recognised, however, we are not complacent and we do recognise that there are improvements to be made around the way that we protect vulnerable people.
"Those improvements are already beginning to happen.
"Members of the public can take from this report that we are identifying threat, risk and harm to keep them safe and that we are tackling antisocial behaviour and crime, which are ultimately the main aims that we have as police officers.”