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Durham Constabulary is a Home Office police force 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 Englandmarker and Walesmarker. 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. As of July 2006, the plans to merge Cleveland, Durham and Northumbria where scrapped.


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.

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 Hartlepoolmarker and Stockton-on-Teesmarker 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. 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.

See also


  1. The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965

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