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Proud to serve Durham Constublary Top Special Constables recognised 



Durham’s volunteer police officers have seen their efforts during the last twelve months recognised at a recent awards ceremony.

The Special Constable of the Year Award was won by SC Andrew BENJAMIN, partly for his brave actions during an incident which actually happened before he started with Durham Constabulary in March last year.

Andrew was still serving as a Special with Lincolnshire Police but was off duty when he happened to be in Durham one evening. He sprang into action when he noticed Insp Leanne Thorns struggling to deal with two men, one of whom had assaulted another officer. He rushed to support the inspector, resulting in him being punched, but as a result of his assistance both men were arrested and later charged for violent offences.

Although he was at the time living outside of the north east, he made numerous journeys to the area to provide evidence at court to support the prosecution.

Insp Thorns said; “I have been extremely impressed with Andrew’s work. He displays an empathetic and understanding manner when dealing with victims of crime and portrays an excellent image of Durham Constabulary.”

The Specials Student of the Year award was presented to SC Mark KEVENEY. The award is in memory of Special Constable David Ward who died unexpectedly during his training period in 2013. David was a popular member of his training group and joining the Special Constabulary had been a long-held ambition.

SC Keveney joined the ranks of the Specials in June 2014 and currently works full-time in the force’s communications centre.

At the end of the classroom phase of their initial training, all Special Constables are offered the chance to complete a ‘knowledge check’ for the Specials Policing Diploma. 

Mark is the only officer in recent times to have a 100% success rate. He reports for duty at Durham City, working closely with the Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
The Team of the Year Award went to the officers covering Derwentside and Chester-le-Street, led by Acting Special Chief Inspector Hayley Gibson. The team consistently performed to a high level over the course of the past year, particularly during a NATO conference in Wales when a large number of regular officers were deployed to help police the event.

This meant additional resources from the Special Constabulary were invaluable in helping provide normal policing cover.

The team completed a huge amount of volunteered hours over 2014 and into the current year, providing support at incidents including serious road collisions and high risk missing persons. In a twelve-month period they attended over 600 incidents.

Other award-winners were;
Special Constable Ross MORALEE, based in Barnard Castle.

His commitment to supporting local neighbourhood and response policing prompted praise from both his colleagues and members of the public. His actions included a foot chase of a thief who had stolen a poppy collection box from a volunteer in a local supermarket.

SC Kate PRICE (Durham and Stanley), who became the first female special to successfully complete the force’s public order training course, which means she can be deployed at serious incidents to other forces as well as in Durham; she worked in her own time to complete a three-week driving course and a pursuit course; attended more than 260 incidents and volunteered over 25 hours duty per month throughout her service.

Kate has now been successful in joining the ranks of the regular police and is currently going through her initial training.

SC Dan FISHER who joined as a Special in July 2009 and works mainly in the south of the county contributed over 830 hours duty last year, the majority being performed on weekend night shifts, even volunteering to police on Christmas Day.

He has also passed the initial pursuit driving and public order courses.

SC Fisher was also the joint winner of an award with SC Laura SIMPSON-JONES. Both were praised for their actions during a tragic incident where a young girl had hung herself in her bedroom.

Laura and Dan were the first on scene, and not only attempted to resuscitate the girl but dealt calmly with other family members who were clearly distressed.

Their award recognised that “both officers showed a tremendous amount of resolve and professionalism during this incident. Despite the tragic and difficult circumstances, both officers remained calm and offered unrivalled service to all those involved.”

And acting Special Inspector Claire PATTERSON was commended for her efforts to support operational policing during the NATO conference when many members of the force had been seconded to the security for the conference.

Special Chief Officer Dale Checksfield, head of Durham Constabulary’s volunteer officers, said; “Last year saw continued growth in Durham Special Constabulary with broadened deployment options, an increase in recruitment and development activities to ensure the Specials are positioned to support the force’s strategic aims in the years ahead.”

Chief Superintendent Graham Hall, from the force’s Neighbourhood command said; “The awards are a true testament to the exceptional talent of our Special Constables and highlight the enormous contribution they make in both supporting regular colleagues and improving people’s lives in County Durham and Darlington.”

Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg said; “Our Special Constables give up their free time to help make their community a safer place. They are an inspiration to others it is right that they are truly recognised for their hard work and valued contribution.”

Special Constables are volunteers with full police powers of arrest. They support the officers come from a wide range of backgrounds, with teachers, students, social workers, engineers and oil rig workers amongst the ranks.



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Kerry Blakeman & CMPG in UK’s first motorway policing 360 video streamed LIVE



Thousands of people viewed the amazing 360 footage from a police car responding to a live incident on the motorway.

While officers responded to the incident viewers followed live from inside of the police car with the latest 360 video which was streamed live.

The broadcast with the Central Motorway Policing Group (CMPG) was shared across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat and went down very well with viewers.

In a number of Live videos shared insightful inside content which included LIVE motorway patrol and responding to an urgent incident on blue lights.

CMPG look after the region’s motorways alongside Highways England , 365 days a year 24/7 which includes West Midlands, West Mercia and Staffordshire.

The series of videos took viewers out on patrol with motorway cops, giving them a 360 degree look at how officers respond to an incident on the region’s motorways.

The 360 video streamed LIVE on Periscope for Twitter and received more than 13,100 views.

Operations Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman, head of CMPG Dean Hatton and Highways England Manager Frank Bird also answered questions throughout the night from followers about a range of topics.

Viewers were also shown how the force is educating drivers on how drink, drugs and tiredness can have an effect on driver’s perception through a simulator funded by BDV recovery.

The award-winning close pass initiative was also demonstrated by PCs Hodson and Hudson who have been nominated for an award in this year’s police Twitter awards.

Members of the public really enjoyed the 360 interactive videos and commented on how fascinating the work was that is being carried out.

Throughout the course of the evening, the live broadcasts were viewed more than 92,000 times and the posts reached more than 266,000 people across all of the force’s social media networks.

Kerry Blakeman said: “We were overwhelmed with the support from members of the public and happy that we could show our followers an insight into how CMPG police the region’s motorways as well as a range of other things to keep the public safe.

“CMPG are a crucial resource that help us serve and protect the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“We’ll continue to innovatively use social media to reach as many people as possible and share the good work that all our officers and staff do on a daily basis.”



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Norfolk Police are scrapping the role of PCSO to save £1.6 Million



Norfolk Police has today announced they are the first police force within the United Kingdom to scrap the role of PCSO.

Following one of the most extensive reviews within the history of Norfolk Police 150 police staff will be impacted.

As of a review which was launched in 2015 called ‘Norfolk 2020’ which looked as ways to develop the best way that the constabulary could deliver effective and efficient policing against unprecedented increases in complex crimes such as adult and child abuse, sexual offences and cyber-crime, while achieving £10m of savings before 2020.

In Conclusion of the report, it has now been announced that there was a need for investment in detective resources and creating facilities to match the increaase demand within the safeguarding and investigations command.

The complete removal of Police Community Support Officers impacting 150 staff resulting in a reduction in the neighbourhood resources.

Increasing the number of Frontline police officers by 81 and creating a pro-active policing model.

Finally 7 public enquiry offices front counter services along with the closure of 7 police stations across Norfolk.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “These are radical plans which come at a critical time when the police service is facing unparalleled growth in complex crime together with reduced policing budgets.

“I’ve always been clear that meeting this challenge would be a turning point for the police service and that we would have to change the way we work in order to meet rising demand.

“The plans announced today, I believe, will deliver the most responsive police service for Norfolk, meeting the needs of our communities while protecting the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We must also ensure that the constabulary continues to deliver against the Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and national policing demands.

“This has been the most extensive review in the force’s history. Adapting our existing structure was not an option which has resulted in plans that include the removal of the PCSO role within neighbourhood policing, reduction of Public Enquiry Offices and police station closures.

“These are difficult decisions and I’m acutely aware of the impact this will have on individuals directly affected and the communities they serve. Change on this scale is challenging but my priority as ever is to make sure we continue to deliver a responsive, relevant and viable police service for the people of Norfolk.”

Investment in detective resources and facilities to match increase and demand (Safeguarding and Investigations Command)

Norfolk has seen unprecedented increases in complex crimes. These crimes are of a serious nature; rape, sexual offences, adult and child abuse, indecent images, drugs and serious violence as well as cyber-crime.

The force has already invested heavily in the Safeguarding and Investigations Command in a bid to meet demand and the 2020 proposed changes will see officers and staff increased in this area by 31 FTE (9 Officers and 22 Staff)

To further improve the way these crimes are investigated, Norfolk’s new policing model will see two new investigation centres built in the east and west of the county. The new centres, based in Broadland Gate and Swaffham area, are due to be opened during 2019, and will have the necessary equipment and facilities to investigate these crimes more efficiently and effectively.

Centralising detective resources in two key locations will enhance the force’s ability to respond to increasing demand, ensuring complex enquiries sit with the right staff and therefore free-up frontline officers to focus on local policing.

The new buildings will also provide a more efficient and cost-effective solution in comparison to maintaining some of the force’s current estates.

Reduction in neighbourhood resources with removal of PCSO role

PCSOs have given outstanding service to communities in Norfolk since the role was introduced in 2002.

The force has reviewed everything that frontline officers and PCSOs can deliver, including their powers, duties, entitlements and the average annual cost of each, which is no longer significantly different.

PCSOs are not permitted to arrest, process or interview prisoners. The role also has limitations in respect of shift cover, use of police cars for pursuit or deployment to situations where there is likely to be a confrontation.

Therefore, the force plans to remove all 150 PCSO roles, with formal staff consultation beginning today (Thursday 19 October).

Increase in police officers and pro-active policing

The removal of PCSOs contributes to £1.6m in savings (equivalent to 43 full-time PCSOs) and means the force can increase frontline resources equating to 97 positions supporting frontline policing. These will be a mixture of officers (81) and staff (16).

These officers and staff would be deployed to neighbourhood and pro-active teams, enhancing the force’s ability to react to demand and offer pro-active policing.

Public Enquiry Office (front counter services) and police station closures

Changes are planned to the force’s estates, including a reduction in Public Enquiry Offices (PEOs).

During the review, assessments were carried out at all stations which offer front counter services into how frequently they were used by the public.

The proposal is to close seven out of the force’s ten PEOs. Stations affected are Dereham, Thetford, Cromer, Downham Market, Fakenham, Hunstanton and North Walsham. These stations will remain open as an operational base.

PEOs in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn will remain open. However, Bethel Street will be closed on Sundays to reflect the low usage highlighted in the review.

The proposals also include police station closures at Acle, Coltishall (storage), Caister, Bowthorpe, Tuckswood (specials), Europa Way (storage) and North Lynn.

Officers and staff currently based at police stations in Attleborough, Holt and Reepham will be relocated to share premises with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Staff currently based at Sprowston and Swaffham will be relocated into the new investigation centres.

In the future, the force will also look to renovate or locally relocate Gorleston and Hurricane Way.




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Ed Sheeran rushed to hospital after being knocked off bike in London



Ed Sheeran has been to rushed to hospital after being knocked off his bike in London.

It is believed the singer has suffered a broken arm after he collided with a car in the capital city.

Ed took to Instagram ‘I’ve had a bit of a bicycle accident and I’m currently waiting on some medical advice, which may affect some of my upcoming shows. Please stay tuned for further news. Ed x’

Ed shared this with a picture of his guitar arm in a plaster cast and his other arm in a sling.



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