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Durham Constabulary
Logo of the Durham Constabulary.
Agency overview
Formed 1974
Employees 2,910[1]
Volunteers 126[1]
Annual budget £112.3 million[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Police area of Durham in the country of England, UK
Map of Durham Constabulary's jurisdiction.
Size 2,232 km²
Population 595,308
Legal jurisdiction England & Wales
Governing body Durham Police Authority
Constituting instrument Police Act 1996
General nature
Operational structure
Constables 1,758 (of which 126 are special constables)[1]
Police Community Support Officers 162[1]
Agency executive Jon Stoddart, Chief Constable
Basic Command Units North Area
South Area
* Police area agency: Prescribed geographic area in the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Durham Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for policing the non-metropolitan county of County Durham and the unitary authority of Darlington. The force covers the 2,232 km² of the county which has a resident population of 595,308. It is one of the smaller forces of the forty-three territorial police forces that service England and Wales. Durham is Home Office force 11.

Durham Constabulary is divided into two areas:

Under proposals made by the Home Secretary on February 6, 2006, it would merge with Northumbria Police and Cleveland Police to form a single strategic police force for the North East England[2]. As of July 2006, the plans to merge Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria where scrapped.

It was announced in December 2009 that Durham Constabulary would create a joint firearms unit with neighbouring Cleveland Police. This will take effect from April 2010 with a team of 100 officers. At present both forces operate independent teams of approximately 100 officers, although a shared Tactical Training Centre in Urlay Nook, near Durham Tees Valley Airport, has been operational since 2001. There are also plans to combine road policing teams from Autumn 2010 with one base in the Cleveland area and one in Durham.[3] [4]



Durham Constabulary was one of the first county police forces to be set up, built in 1839. The force absorbed Durham City Police (formed in 1836) in 1921, Hartlepool Borough Police (formed in 1851) in 1947, Sunderland Borough Police (formed in 1837) in 1967, and Gateshead Borough Police (formed in 1836) and South Shields Borough Police (formed in 1839) in 1968, when it also lost some of its area to Teesside Constabulary.

In 1965, the force had an establishment of 1,763 and an actual strength of 1,626.[5]

Under the Local Government Act 1972, in 1974, the northern area of the force (including Gateshead, Sunderland and South Shields) became part of Northumbria Constabulary, with Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees in the south-east going to Cleveland Constabulary

Threatened cuts

On 26 October 2006, the force announced that a £10 million financial deficit means it may have to cut more than 300 police officers by 2009[6]. These would be achieved through recruitment freezes, retirements and natural wastage. The force also announced that it has submitted a recovery plan to the Home Office, which is currently under consideration. It is not clear if this plan, presuming it is approved, will reduce or remove the threat of job losses.

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