A North East police force has become the only one in the country to be graded as 'outstanding' in the latest round of checks.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has hailed Northumbria as 'good' and seen Durham maintain its position as the top performing force in the country in a check to see how each of the 43 areas across England and Wales are effective in keeping people safe and reducing crime.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham, who led the PEEL Effectiveness report inspection, said: "This is one of the most wide-ranging inspections HMIC has ever conducted. "We’ve examined police effectiveness across the board – from how forces identify anti-social behaviour hotspots, to their mapping of organised crime groups, and from their management of the most dangerous offenders, to their work to protect children.
“The job of the inspectorate is to shine a light on both good performance, and on things that need to improve; and this inspection found both.
Northumbria's Chief Constable Steve Ashman said: "Protecting the vulnerable in our communities is our number one priority, it is therefore pleasing that HMIC have assessed Northumbria Police to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
"As a large metropolitan force, we are particularly proud of the acknowledgement by HMIC that our staff understand that the needs of each victim are paramount and that we have good arrangements with our partners to support vulnerable victims.
"This has also been recognised by victims with our satisfaction rating being amongst the highest in England and Wales.
"Overall, the report has highlighted many areas of good performance and I am confident that we are well placed to build on this firm foundation as we continuously seek to improve the service we provide.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “While we are pleased, we are not complacent. We want to keep raising the bar, making improvements and ensuring the best interests of the victim and community remain at the heart of all we do.
"The chief constable and I are determined to do all we can to preserve our high policing standards and our national reputation for victim satisfaction.”
Durham was the only force to receive an overall grade of ‘outstanding’, with four of the same grade awarded out of eight categories.
In the individual areas assessed, the force was deemed ‘outstanding’ at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.
It also was graded ‘outstanding’ tackling serious and organised crime and deemed ’outstanding’ at investigating crime and managing offenders.
Meanwhile, the force was graded ‘good’ at protecting the vulnerable.
Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “Once again we are adjudged to be at the pinnacle of policing and the benchmark for others to follow.
“I was absolutely delighted when the force was identified as being the best in the country last year so to maintain that standing is even more impressive.
“This is a massive pat on the back for everyone who works for the Force.
“I hope every employee has an extra spring in their step today because it is their continued professionalism and dedication which has put the force in a fantastic position for the
Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “To achieve such a glowing report in the current austere times is really impressive."