Partnerships

Working With Our Partners

Partnership working is a "golden thread" that runs throughout our organisation. Much of our work is delivered in partnership with a wide range of organisations at national, regional and local level. Some examples of partnership working are detailed below:

 

County Durham and Darlington Local Criminal Justice Board

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One of 42 Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs) across England and Wales, County Durham and Darlington Local Criminal Justice Board, combines the agencies involved in criminal justice. Members include the Police, Crown Prosecution Service, the Courts, Youth Offending Teams and the Probation and Prison Service. The Board provides a framework for these organisations to work together to reduce crime, reduce re-offending and the causes of crime. Victim and witness care is at the centre of the work, as is robust case management from arrest to trial through to sentencing disposal of offenders so as to reduce waiting times for victims and witnesses and secure effective rehabilitation of offenders.

The Board is committed to bringing more offenders to justice through challenging reforms to Criminal Justice Services in County Durham and Darlington. It aims to increase public confidence in our Criminal Justice Services.

 

By virtue of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 responsibility for making charging decisions in all but minor and straight forward cases has passed from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). As a result police officers will no longer be able to charge criminals suspected of serious offences or those in contested cases, without written authority from crown prosecutors but can consult at an early stage in the investigation to receive advice on cases. The aim is to ensure we build the strongest possible cases to bring guilty offenders to justice expeditiously and thereby increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.

The Priority and other Prolific Offenders strategy brings together the work of the LCJB with Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships/Community Safety Partnerships (CDRPs/CSPs) in the force area. The strategy has three complimentary parts: prevent and deter, - to stop people engaging in offending behaviour and becoming prolific offenders; catch and convict - actively targeting those that are already prolific offenders and rehabilitate and resettle - working with identified prolific offenders to stop their offending by offering a range of interventions. The strategy is led by CDRPs/CSPs with input from LCJB.

 

Crime and Disorder Reduction / Community Safety Partnerships

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Within the Force area there are eight Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs). The partnerships bring together the Police, Police Authority, local councils, the Fire and Rescue Authority and Primary Care Trusts to work together to improve the safety of communities. Currently each CSP is required to carry out a review of local crime and disorder, behaviour adversely affecting the environment and the misuse of drugs every three years, consult with their communities on the findings and develop strategies to tackle the problems identified.

The last audits were conducted in 2004, the outcome of these audits informed the strategies for the period 2005-2008.CDRP strategies. These strategies cover the same period as that of the Police Authority Strategy. Senior police officers and selected members of the Police Authority attend Community Safety Partnership meetings and provide feedback in relation to local issues and concerns to the Force and the Authority. This provides congruence between the strategies and priorities. It is essential that the strategies and the action that flows from them are mutually reinforcing and take full account of the needs of local communities.

Multi-agency StreetSafe Initiatives held across the Force area are evidence of collaborative problem solving. These directly involve partners and communities in engagement to identify problems and problem solving. An example of such an initiative is a recent CDRP operation (Tonka) which lead to 80 arrests, 75 vehicle seizures & 50 tonnes of rubbish being removed. In addition, within Wear and Tees, the police have joint training with Wardens, Housing and tenancy enforcement officers, organised by the local CDRP manager.

 

DAATs

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Drug and Alcohol Action teams (DAATs) are the partnerships responsible for delivering the National Drug Strategy at a local level. They combine representatives from the police, local authorities (education, social services, housing) health, probation, the prison service and the voluntary sector. In County Durham and Darlington, the DAATs and CDRPs work very closely together to deliver interventions that concentrate on the most dangerous drugs, the most damaged communities and problematic drug users, who cause the most harm to themselves, their families and their communities.

The Force plays an important role in this area and has in place a Drug Arrest Referral Scheme. We also support the provision of drug referral workers who work from various police stations to offer appropriate treatment, support and guidance to those arrested for drug related offences.
The aim of the service is to:

  • Break the cycle of drug misuse among people who use drugs
  • Reduce the harm caused by drug misuse both to the offender and the wider community.
  • Reduce the danger to the community caused by drug related anti-social and criminal behaviour.
  • Support first time young offenders to obtain early intervention, resist drug misuse and prevent them entering the Criminal Justice System.
  • Enable those with chronic drug problems to access treatment at all stages of the Criminal Justice System.
  • Reduce the levels of repeat offending among illicit drug using offenders.
  • Provide assessment and rapid referral of arrestees forwarded as suitable for the service through local Police stations, self referral and the courts.
  • Provide a first step in care and treatment for clients arrested and referred into the scheme.
 

Youth Offending Teams

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Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) are made up of representatives from the Police, Probation Service, Social Services, Health, Education, drugs and alcohol misuse and housing officers. YOTs co-ordinating the work of the youth justice services.

Because the YOT incorporates representatives from a wide range of services, it can respond to the needs of young offenders in a comprehensive way. The YOT identifies the needs of each young offender by assessing them with a national assessment. It identifies the specific problems that make the young person offend as well as measuring the risk they pose to others. This enables the YOT to identify suitable programmes to address the needs of the young person with the intention of preventing further offending.

Within the force area these services are delivered by the Youth Engagement Service (YES) in County Durham and the Youth Offending Team (YOT) in Darlington. Durham Constabulary currently has six constables working with the Youth Engagement Service in County Durham and two constables with the Youth Offending Team in Darlington.

 

Community Safety Accreditation Scheme

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The Police Reform Act 2002 enables the Chief Officer of any police area to establish and maintain a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme. Organisations which provide community safety patrols, security functions or a presence in the community may apply for the accreditation of their staff from the Chief Constable, provided they fulfil a range of policy requirements.

Accreditation will enable employees to utilise limited but targeted powers to become more effective in their role of providing public reassurance, and in the prevention of crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour. Other benefits of the scheme include improved information sharing between the police and accredited organisations, and legislative protection for individuals. Accreditation aims to raise and maintain standards and formalise relationships within the 'extended police family'.

Durham Constabulary has launched (January 2005) a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme in partnership with Cleveland Police.

In County Durham and Darlington 46 wardens have been accredited in the following three areas:

  • Darlington Borough Council
  • Sedgefield Borough Council
  • Wear Valley District Council
  • Durham City Council
  • Easington District Council

Each of the councils have been granted the following identical powers:

  • Issue fixed penalty notices for offences relating to dog fouling, littering, graffiti and fly-posting
  • Request name and address details for fixed penalty notices and offences that cause injury, alarm, distress or damage or loss to another
  • Request name and address details of a person acting in an anti-social manner
  • Confiscate alcohol from persons under 18
  • Confiscate cigarettes or tobacco from persons under 16
  • Removal of vehicle causing danger or obstruction

The Police Reform Act 2002 also enabled Forces to employ Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and designate them with limited police powers and to have police staff who could undertake some investigation duties. Durham Constabulary employs PCSOs and is currently undergoing a further recruitment exercise to increase their numbers. The Force also employs Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs), a Financial Investigator and a Vehicle examiner who are all designated investigating officers.

 

Local Strategic Partnerships

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Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) are single non-statutory, multi-agency bodies, which are coterminous with local authority boundaries. Their aim is to bring together at a local level the different parts of the public, private, community and voluntary sectors. They have a broader focus than that of the CDRPs, looking at the 'well-being' of their communities as well as crime and disorder issues.

LSPs are key to tackling deep seated, multi-faceted problems, requiring a range of responses from different bodies. Local partners working through an LSP will be expected to take many of the major decisions about priorities for their local area, and will prepare a community strategy that shows how the partnership will bring about the changes that are needed to that area.

There is a Local Strategic Partnership in every local and unitary authority in County Durham and Darlington. In the Durham Constabulary area there are four local authority areas which are included within the eighty-eight most deprived areas in the country. These are Derwentside, Easington, Sedgefield and Wear Valley. The LSPs in these areas qualify for additional funding through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF). The County Durham Local Strategic Partnership co-ordinates all of the County's LSPs and looks more strategically at cross-cutting issues. In relation to LSPs the Government Office North East act as

  • Facilitators to support the development of LSPs
  • Mediators to resolve difficulties
  • Accreditors to assess whether LSPs in NRF areas are effective and have genuine community participation
 

Local Area Agreements

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Local Area Agreements (LAAs) represent a new approach to the way that local authorities and their partners can use Government funding to focus on what matters most in a local area to deliver sustained improvements in local quality of life. They depend on effective partnerships that share a strong vision reflected in community strategies. They offer a range of benefits, including devolved decision-making, flexibility in the use of resources and reduced bureaucracy through the streamlining of funding regimes and performance management frameworks.

In County Durham the LAA aligns with and reinforces the priorities and common themes set out in this Policing Plan. Drawing on CSP and Drug Action Team strategies, it incorporates targets to reduce crime, anti social behaviour and substance misuse and their impact on people's lives. In County Durham partners intend to use the LAA as a vehicle for building public reassurance, increasing wellbeing and creating environments where the public feel safer by:

  • Dealing promptly with the environmental damage that local people associate with crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti, abandoned vehicles and fly tipping;
  • Increasing the visibility and presence of "capable guardians" in communities through neighbourhood policing teams, Police Community Support Officers and other members of the extended police family working closely with neighbourhood wardens, the Fire and Rescue Service and other local service deliverers;
  • Working imaginatively with young people at risk of involvement in crime and anti-social behaviour, both as perpetrators and victims, to prevent them entering the criminal justice system;

In Darlington the LAA focuses on children and young people. The safer and stronger communities dimension links with this Policing Plan and includes outcomes and targets to reduce crime, the harm caused by illegal drugs, and to reassure the public, reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour and a related focus on cleaner, greener and safer public places.

The LAA will support greater local intelligence sharing and joint tasking and coordination, leading to a more flexible response to emerging problems alongside an improvement in youth services to reduce anti-social behaviour, improved community cohesion through volunteering; and a joined up approach to consultation and engagement with young people.

The Police Authority and the Force have been closely involved with the development of LAAs in County Durham and Darlington.. Local Area Agreements are grounded in meaningful community engagement and involvement, with LSPs and Community Empowerment Networks playing a central role. Their aim, more integrated neighbourhood delivery, fits well with our neighbourhood policing approach.

 

Every Child Matters

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Every Child Matters: Change for Children is the programme of local and national action through which the transformation of children's services is being implemented. The Children Act 2004 provides the statutory framework for delivery. The Act places a duty on chief police officers and police authorities to cooperate with local authorities in the force area in order to improve the well being of children and young people. The Chief Constable also has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

This is because the work of the Force has significant impact on children's services within County Durham and Darlington, and it has direct responsibility for the provision of services for children and young people. The Force is a core member of Safeguarding Children Boards in County Durham and Darlington. Both the force and the Authority contribute to Children's Strategic Partnerships.

 

Respect

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The Respect Action Plan launched in January deepens the government's current drive to clamp-down on crime and anti-social behaviour and build a culture of respect in society by tackling the causes of these problems. In addition to early intervention and strengthening communities, effective enforcement is key.

The Plan, and the Police and Justice Bill currently before Parliament build on measures such as ASBOs and Curfew Orders that are already available to the police and other agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour. The Force expects to make a significant contribution to the aims of the plan principally through our neighbourhood policing approach. The force Community Justice Department is conducting a health check of the Respect Action Plan. Any issues arising from this which require action by the force will be addressed by a force project or through the business planning process.

 

Shared Partnership Priorities

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The policing specific focus of our local priorities for 2006/07 will support and enhance the work we do with our partners in County Durham and Darlington to tackle local problems.

Shared priorities are being actively addressed. Some examples of the way the force contributes to this work include:

  • Anti-Social Behaviour

Both North and South Areas work closely with CDRPs and other partners to address unruly behaviour through the use of anti-social behaviour orders and acceptable behaviour contracts. The StreetSafe reassurance strategy continues to be actively promoted making effective use of community networks to secure community intelligence. Neighbourhood forums are being developed across the force area in order to encourage involvement of all members of our communities.

  • Drugs and Alcohol

The force works closely with local authorities and other relevant partners within the licensing trade to reduce the availability of drugs in licensed premises and to ensure that preventative measures regarding drugs are considered as part of the license application process. A pilot scheme is being undertaken in the North Area in partnership with local licensees where door supervisors will assist with the marshalling of taxi queues to reduce anti-social behaviour which is linked to the night time economy.

Joint Enforcement Protocol:

 

The Community Justice Department, in conjunction with BCUs, engage partners to deliver education to our young people so that they gain an understanding of unacceptable behaviour around substance misuse and develop respect for themselves and their communities in support of the force youth strategy and school liaison programme. A Constable from the Community Justice Department works as Drugs Intervention Programme Co-ordinator with the Drug and Alcohol Action Teams in the force area.

  • Young People

Youth forums are in existence across the force area to engage with young people and with partners to offer diversionary schemes which promote personal and social development to encourage good citizenship and reduce social exclusion. The force also conducts regular intelligence led truancy sweeps in partnership with the Local Education Authority.

  • Domestic Violence

County Durham and Darlington was the first area in the country to have specialist courts 'Sensitive Case Courts' that deal with domestic violence crimes (as well as racist, homophobic and other hate based crimes). A range of agencies work together to prevent domestic violence and to identify, track and risk assess domestic violence cases, provide support to victims and share information effectively so that more offenders are brought to justice.

  • Crime

In addition to our core policing role regarding crime we continue to work with partners to progress the neighbourhood policing programme. Work with CDRPs is vital to address local crime issues and to ensure that relevant partner organisations assist with identifying and tackling signal crimes, environmental and physical factors within appropriate timescales.