Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the areas of Northumberland and Tyne and Wear in North East England.

Northumbria Police
MottoProud to Protect
Agency overview
Legal personalityPolice force
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionNorthumberland & Tyne and Wear
Map of Northumbria Police's jurisdiction.
Size5,551 km²
Legal jurisdictionTyne and Wear and Northumberland
HeadquartersMiddle Engine Lane, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear, NE28 9NT
Sworn members4,215 (including 191 Special constables) [1]
Unsworn members1,722 (1,514 police staff and 208 PCSOs)
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
  • Kim McGuinness
Agency executive


Northumbria Police is the sixth largest police force in England and Wales with 3,486 police officers, 1,505 police staff, 245 special constables and 200 police community support officers [2] 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.[3] As of February 2018, the acting Chief Constable is Winton Keenen, whose appointment became effective on October 2017.[4] Former chief constables include Sir Stanley Bailey (1975–1991); John Stevens, Baron Stevens of Kirkwhelpington (1991–1996); Crispian Strachan CBE (1998–2005), Mike Craik (2005–2010), Sue Sim (2010–2015, including a period as temporary chief constable) and Steve Ashman (2015–2017).


The force was formed in 1974 and was a merger of the old Northumberland Constabulary along 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.[5]

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.[6][7] All proposals regarding force mergers were subsequently dropped nationwide.

In July 2010, Raoul Moat targeted Northumbria Police officers after his release from Durham Prison. A manhunt was started by Northumbria Police with assistance from Durham Constabulary, Cleveland Police, Cumbria Police, West Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police, and Humberside Police.[8] As the situation developed over a period of days, more support was made available with the Metropolitan Police sending 40 firearms officers, most specialised in the use of sniper rifles. Also, the Police Service of Northern Ireland sent 20 armoured Mitsubishi Shoguns to help in the search on rough terrain in Northumberland.[9]

In January 2014 Northumbria Police launched Operation Sanctuary to investigate sexual abuse gangs targeting vulnerable young white girls.[10] In June 2014 the operation had identified 80 victims and the number of arrests had reached 104.[10]

In April 2014, Northumbria Police came under controversy when they threatened teenagers with an ASBO for building a den out of sticks in the woods.[11]

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.[12]

Chief Officer team

As of July 2019, 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 – Helen McMillan
  • Assistant Chief Constable (temporary) – David Felton


Northumbria Police is divided into three Area Commands. The number of police stations is in the process of being rationalised as part of significant ongoing budget reductions.[14]

Identifier Area Command Area Command HQ Area
HHNorthernMiddle Engine Lane Police Station, Wallsendcovering the local authority areas of Northumberland and North Tyneside[15]
IICentralEtal Lane Police Station, Newcastle upon Tynecovering the local authority areas of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead[16]
JJSouthernSouth Shields Police Stationcovering the local authority areas of Sunderland and South Tyneside[17]

Neighbourhood policing

Northumbria Police has numerous teams dedicated to neighbourhood policing attached to the area commands as the table below outlines. A number of these teams are now based within community hubs rather than traditional police stations.[18]

Northumbria Police: Neighbourhood Policing Teams
Identifier Area Command Neighbourhood Policing Teams
HH Northern Bedlington; Blyth; Cramlington; Ashington; Morpeth; Alnwick; Berwick; West Tynedale; East Tynedale; North Shields; Whitley Bay; Killingworth; Wallsend
II Central Newcastle North West; Newcastle North; Newcastle West; Newcastle City; Newcastle East; Newcastle East Riverside; Central Gateshead; East Gateshead; South Gateshead; Inner West Gateshead; Metro Centre Gateshead; Outer West Gateshead
JJ Southern Houghton; Sunderland Central; Sunderland East; Sunderland North; Sunderland South; Sunderland West; Washington; East Shields, Cleadon and Whitburn; Jarrow and Hebburn; West Shields and Riverside


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 £259.5 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 8.00pm and people needing the police after that time must use the telephone or an interactive service.[19][20]


There are two inter-operable communication centres:

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

Chief Constables

Officers killed in the line of duty

The Police Roll of Honour Trust lists and commemorates all British police officers killed on and in the line of duty.

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:[21]

  • PC George Bertram Mussell KPM, 1913 (shot)
  • Sgt 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 Keith Blakelock, 1985 (killed during the Broadwater Farm riots while attempting to protect a fire crew)
  • PC Bernard Leslie Bull, 1991 (collapsed and died during an arrest)
  • Sgt William Forth, 1993 (stabbed)
  • PC Joseph Geoffrey Carroll, 2006 (the prisoner he was transporting caused the vehicle to crash, fatally injuring the officer)

On November 6, 2017, Constable John Davidson of the Abbotsford Police Department in British Columbia, Canada, was shot and killed[22] while trying to arrest a suspect who had allegedly opened fire in the parking lot of a shopping centre. Davidson had served with the Northumbria Police from 1993 to 2005 before emigrating to join the Abbotsford Police.[23][24]

See also


  1. "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2017". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2017. Archived from the original on 2 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  2. "About us — Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 18 May 2013.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Doughty, Sophie (29 September 2017). "New acting Chief Constable appointed at Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 21 February 2018.
  5. "Sorry, this page cannot be found — Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 15 October 2006.
  6. "Police mergers outlined by Clarke". 6 February 2006. Archived from the original on 8 February 2006 via
  7. "Opinions of the forces on the future merge (accessed 1 Feb '07)". Archived from the original on 8 July 2006.
  8. "Marksmen search town for gunman". BBC News. 7 July 2010. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018 via
  9. (Accessed on 7/7/10)
  10. "Operation Sanctuary arrests top 100". BBC News. 20 June 2014. Archived from the original on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  11. "Parents' fury after young girls who built den moved on by police". 21 April 2014. Archived from the original on 21 April 2014.
  12. 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
  13. "Chief Officer Team — About Us — Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 16 March 2016.
  14. Lawson, Ruth (9 January 2014). "Northumbria Police announce huge job losses due to funding cuts". Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  15. "Home". Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  16. "Central Area Command — Your Neighbourhood — Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 13 February 2016.
  17. "Southern Area Command — Your Neighbourhood — Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 26 March 2016.
  18. "Sorry, this page cannot be found — Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009.
  19. Hill, Laura (8 September 2017). "Top cop's warning following years of police cuts". Archived from the original on 9 September 2017.
  20. Police chief constable says professional service at risk from budget cuts Archived 9 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian
  21. "Police Roll Of Honour Trust". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
  22. "Candlelight vigil planned for fallen Abbotsford police officer Monday evening — CBC News". Archived from the original on 16 November 2017.
  23. "'As brave as a lion': Const. John Davidson's U.K. colleagues in mourning — CBC News". Archived from the original on 16 November 2017.
  24. "Death of former Northumbria officer – 08 – Northumbria Police". Archived from the original on 9 November 2017.
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