Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police is a territorial police force in North East England responsible for policing the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear (comprised of the metropolitan boroughs of Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and the City of Sunderland), as well as the ceremonial county of Northumberland. The service has responsibility for law enforcement on the Tyne and Wear Metro within Newcastle upon Tyne, whilst British Transport Police cover the remainder of the Metro network.

Northumbria Police
Badge of the Northumbria Police
Badge of the Northumbria Police
MottoProud to protect
Agency overview
Legal personalityPolice force
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionNewcastle upon Tyne
North Tyneside
South Tyneside
City of Sunderland
England Police Forces (Northumbria).svg
Map of Northumbria Police's jurisdiction
Size5,551 km²
Operational structure
Overviewed by
HeadquartersMiddle Engine Lane, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear, NE28 9NT
Police Officers3,280 (including 125 Special Constables)
Police staff and PCSOs1,853 (1,649 police staff and 204 PCSOs)
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executive
Website Edit this at Wikidata


In terms of police officer numbers, Northumbria Police is the ninth largest police force in England and Wales. As of March 2020, it has 3,155 police officers, 125 special constables, 204 police community support officers and 1,649 police staff.[1] The force is also the ninth largest force in terms of geographic area of responsibility of the 43 territorial forces of England and Wales. The force headquarters are located at Middle Engine lane in Wallsend, North Tyneside. However, significant numbers of functions have been dispersed to various locations throughout the force area as part of plans to reduce costs, with the stated intention of operating without a traditional headquarters function.[2] As of February 2018, the chief constable is Winton Keenen.[3]

There force has two inter-operable communication centres:

  • Northern Communication Centre (NCC) – deals with all stations and commands north of the Tyne, based at Ponteland, Northumberland.
  • Southern Communication Centre (SCC) – deals with all stations and commands south of the Tyne, based at South Shields police station.


The force was formed in 1974 by merging the Northumberland Constabulary with part of the Durham Constabulary. The police forces for the county boroughs of South Shields, Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle upon Tyne and Tynemouth had already been amalgamated into their respective county forces in 1969, with the Berwick-upon-Tweed police having been merged into Northumberland County Constabulary in 1921.[4]

Notable operationsEdit

Fugitive Raoul Moat was pursued in the 2010 Northumbria Police manhunt. Moat targeted Northumbria Police officers after his release from HM Prison Durham. A historic manhunt was initiated by Northumbria Police, calling upon mutual aid assistance from the armed response units of other police forces in support of Northumbria's armed officers.[5] The Metropolitan Police deployed 40 firearms officers to Northumbria Police, most of whom were specialised in the use of sniper rifles. Notably, the Police Service of Northern Ireland dispatched 20 specialist off-road armoured vehicles to help in the search on rough terrain in Northumberland.[6]

In January 2014, Northumbria Police launched Operation Sanctuary to investigate sexual abuse gangs targeting vulnerable young white girls.[7] In June 2014 the operation had identified 80 victims and the number of arrests had reached 104.[7]

Public controversiesEdit

In May 2016, details emerged of an affair between former Chief Constable Mike Craik and then Assistant Chief Constable Carolyn Peacock. Peacock's husband – also then a serving police officer – found out about the affair at a barbecue, and attacked Craik. Officers from Northumbria Police were called to the incident, which was later removed from all police logs on order of the chief constable, and legally banned from reporting in the courts. The legal bans were lifted, after the former head of legal sued the force for unfair dismissal.[8]

Proposed mergersEdit

Under proposals made by the Home Secretary on 6 February 2006, Northumbria was to merge with Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary to form a single strategic police force for North East England. Both Northumbria and Durham favoured this proposal, while Cleveland expressed a wish that it be merged with the southern area of the Durham force.[9][10] All proposals regarding force mergers were subsequently dropped nationwide.

Funding cutsEdit

Northumbria Police has faced budget cuts of 23% since 2010, higher than any other police force in England and Wales. Former chief constable, Steve Ashman expressed fears Northumbria police could soon be unable to provide an adequate service. Ashman said, "If the day of not being able to provide a professional service was here, I would say. It is not here, but it is getting very, very close." Northumbria police received £259.6 million for the year 2017–18 which is up slightly from £259.5M in 2016–17. This small rise is insufficient to compensate for inflation currently at just under 3% per year. Northumbria police experienced a funding cut in real terms. Most Northumbrian police stations now close at 8.00 pm or earlier, and people needing the police after that time must use the telephone or an interactive service.[11][12]

Chief officer teamEdit

As of October 2020, the chief officer team consists of the following:[13]

  • Chief constable – Winton Keenen
  • Deputy chief constable – Debbie Ford
  • Assistant chief constable – Rachel Bacon
  • Assistant chief constable – Scott Young
  • Assistant chief constable (temporary) – Scott Hall
  • Assistant chief constable (temporary) – Neil Hutchison

Chief constablesEdit

Officers killed in the line of dutyEdit

The Police Roll of Honour Trust and Police Memorial Trust list and commemorate all British police officers killed in the line of duty. Since its establishment in 1984, the Police Memorial Trust has erected 50 memorials nationally to some of those officers.

Since 1900, the following officers of Northumbria Police and its predecessors are listed by the Trust as having been killed while attempting to prevent, stop or solve a criminal act:[14]

  • PC George Bertram Mussell, 1913 (shot)
  • Sergeant Andrew Barton, 1913 (shot)
  • PC George William Wheatley, 1957 (fell from roof while searching for a suspect)
  • PC Brian Armstrong, 1966 (stabbed)
  • PC Daniel Buckley, 1982 (fell through roof while pursuing a burglar)
  • PC Bernard Leslie Bull, 1991 (collapsed and died during an arrest)
  • Sergeant William Forth, 1993 (stabbed)
  • PC Joseph Geoffrey Carroll, 2006 (the prisoner he was transporting caused the vehicle to crash, fatally injuring the officer)

On 6 November 2017, Constable John Davidson of the Abbotsford Police Department in British Columbia, Canada, was shot and killed while trying to arrest a suspect who had allegedly opened fire in the parking lot of a shopping centre.[15] Davidson had served with the Northumbria Police from 1993 to 2005, before emigrating to join the Abbotsford Police.[16][17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2020 second edition". GOV.UK. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Doughty, Sophie (29 September 2017). "New acting Chief Constable appointed at Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 21 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Sorry, this page cannot be found – Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 15 October 2006.
  5. ^ "Marksmen search town for gunman". BBC News. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Gunman Raoul Moat's camp uncovered by police". BBC News. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Operation Sanctuary arrests top 100". BBC News. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  8. ^ Finnigan, Lexi (4 May 2016). "Police chief 'punched at barbecue over affair with assistant chief constable'". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 February 2018 – via
  9. ^ "Police mergers outlined by Clarke". 6 February 2006. Archived from the original on 8 February 2006 – via
  10. ^ "Opinions of the forces on the future merge (accessed 1 Feb '07)". Archived from the original on 8 July 2006.
  11. ^ Hill, Laura (8 September 2017). "Top cop's warning following years of police cuts". Archived from the original on 9 September 2017.
  12. ^ Police chief constable says professional service at risk from budget cuts Archived 9 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian
  13. ^ "Chief Officer Team – About Us – Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 16 March 2016.
  14. ^ "Police Roll Of Honour Trust". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
  15. ^ "Candlelight vigil planned for fallen Abbotsford police officer Monday evening – CBC News". Archived from the original on 16 November 2017.
  16. ^ "'As brave as a lion': Const. John Davidson's U.K. colleagues in mourning – CBC News". Archived from the original on 16 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Death of former Northumbria officer – 08 – Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 9 November 2017.

External linksEdit