Plans to tackle anti-social behaviour and speeding in communities have been revealed by the new Durham Police and Crime Commissioner.
Labour candidate Joy Allen became the area’s third Police and Crime Commissioner since the role was created, following a dramatic election count in May.
Ms Allen has a number of priorities for her term which include tackling anti-social behaviour, targeting speeding and building the nation's first cop bank.
Ahead of the election Ms Allen asked residents what their biggest concerns were and anti-social behaviour came out top.
She said: “I’ve got a very clear view of what people want. I was able because we had an extra year, it allowed me to do quite a bit of research.
“I asked people what the top five priorities were and the top priority was antisocial behaviour at 78%, drug use, drug dealing 63%, fly tipping 49.8%, speeding 49% and vandalism so very much it is that environmental quality of life issues that the majority of people see in their daily life.
“It is the majority of people who see antisocial behaviour, fly tipping and the environmental aspect.
“So from my side it means it is important for me to work with my partner agencies and if we want to get into preventing crime and antisocial behaviour it is getting those area based problem solving groups established, like grassroots.
“It is neighbourhood watch week this week and I think I’m the only PCC who did that as a full time job. I really value the community as they are the eyes and ears of every street.
“What we need to do is get that community intelligence fed into problem solving areas because the survey also identified
“The survey also revealed only 34% of people who have been a victim of crime actually report it.”
She added: “ “If we want to get to grips with crime and antisocial behaviour we have to improve the community’s confidence to report but also we’ve got to make it easier to report.”
Ms Allen, whose career has seen her working in the public public sector, the police and fire services and leading partnerships to tackle anti-social behaviour, also hopes to work on a project that would encourage motorists, cyclists and horse riders to send in dashcam or video footage of dangerous drivers.
She said: “One of the things in my plan, in some forces they have an initiative called Operation Snap and it enables road users or cyclists, horse riders with dash cam they can send mobile evidence into the police and it has been shown that 70% of it has been able to show some positive enforcement.
“The risk of being caught increases when dashcams increase so if you are the person who is going to do that manoeuvre you might be behind someone like me or you with a dashcam and we can say we will do something about it.
"You are increasing their risk of being caught but also reducing the risk or road traffic collisions and fatalities on the road.
“There are about half a dozen forces that have adopted it and I will give it to the chief constable as something I think we should do.”
Ms Allen also hopes to set up the first UK 'cop bank' to help retain the skills of retired police officers.
“We could call them in say a night time economy issue or area with serious antisocial behaviour. I could potentially look to call in five cops to do four hours in a certain area in addition to what we have got.
“I’m not paying for the holidays, or training, I’m paying them for four hours and the community gets the policing they deserve. Durham doesn’t lose skilled and highly qualified police officers and there are people skilled in very specialist areas, such as licensing.
“I have talked to the local MPs and local members and Unison and Police Federation and have conversations.
“You just think why would you not have that? If we are even able to pilot something that will be worthwhile. As far as I know there is nothing like that in the country.
“They would be paid at the rate of the job they are doing.
“As long as it meets legislation, which is why it needs MPs on board, I just thought we are getting this uplift we have coming. I want those people who are highly regarded police officers supporting those they know and sharing those 30 years of experience that gets them to where they are wanting to be.
“I think we have a fantastic calibre of people here and want to retain it.”