A collaboration project between the Cleveland and Durham forces is coming to fruition with the launch of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit.
The Unit will see joint working on roads policing, firearms operations and training, collision investigation, stolen vehicle examiners, intelligence, casualty reduction, traffic management and the camera safety unit.
The decision to create the Unit followed the successful implementation of routine cross-border deployments to spontaneous firearms incidents, jointly staffed pre-planned firearms operations, a shared standby team to support spontaneous and protracted operations, and arrangements for sharing incident management.
The project was set up last year, when a business case was submitted to the two Police Authorities about the benefits of having a joint unit and providing an efficient and effective service to the public. These include:
Phased implementation of the Unit has already started and savings in the region of between £300,000 and £400,000 will be made during the first full year of operation.
There will be two Headquarters for the Specialist Operations Unit based at Wynyard for Cleveland and Spennymoor for Durham.
Members of the public will also start to see double badged vehicles belonging to the Unit with both force crests on. More branding will take place as and when vehicles are replaced as part of the vehicle maintenance programme.
The most recent operations to be run from the Unit include:
Operation Glencoe, which involved joint management of an 8 hour siege involving an individual with a samurai sword in Durham, which was successfully resolved through intervention of the team resulting in officers safely making one arrest.
Operation Jutland, involving officers targeting criminals suspected of using the region’s roads for drugs and organised crime. The operation saw three people arrested for driving while disqualified, theft of a motor vehicle and dangerous driving, three vehicles were seized, ten fixed penalty notices were issued, three drivers were reported for traffic matters and two drivers were required to produce their documents.
Chief Constable of Cleveland Police Sean Price said: “The benefits of collaboration are clear to see – cost-effective policing while delivering a seamless service to members of the public. By harmonising training, policies and procedures in these specialist areas, both forces can operate more efficiently. We are pleased to be working with Durham Constabulary on this project and look forward to seeing even more benefits in the future.”
Added Cleveland Police Authority Chair Councillor Dave McLuckie “This is a clear example where co-operation makes common sense. At a time when we are all working to deliver savings at the same as protecting front-line operations the unit gives us greater efficiency and flexibility to respond to incidents across both force areas—and it saves significant amounts of money.”
Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart said: “This is a unique frontline unit which is helping to keep County Durham, Darlington and Cleveland safer. It’s a good example of preserving frontline policing in a cost-effective way. Collaboration between forces is seen as the key to maintaining an efficient policing service which is also value for money.”
Mr Peter Thompson, Chair of Durham Police Authority, said: "This collaboration project is an excellent working example of separate policing organisations from different geographical boundaries, working together as one. Collaboration can achieve many great benefits in policing, not just internally between our two forces, but also for the communities that we serve. I very much look forward to seeing the benefits of this venture being realised over the coming months."