Northamptonshire Police

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Northamptonshire Police
Logo of the Northamptonshire Police.
Agency overview
Formed 1966 (merger)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Police area of Northamptonshire, UK
England Police Forces (Northamptonshire).svg
Map of Northamptonshire Police's jurisdiction.
Size 2,364
Population 640,000
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Wootton Hall, Northampton
Police Officers 1,268 (of which 248 are Special Constables)


Police and Crime Commissioner responsible Adam Simmonds
Agency executive Adrian Lee, Chief Constable
Divisions 2 (Territorial and Crime and Justice Command)
Stations 9
* Police area agency: Prescribed geographic area in the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

Northamptonshire Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England.

The Force area covers 914 square miles (2,370 km2) and has a resident population of 642,708.

The Force is divided into two Commands each headed by a Chief Superintendent:

  • Territorial (which includes uniformed policing) and
  • Crime and Justice Command (which includes CID, Major Crime and Public Protection)

The Force responds to incidents 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week and receives more than a million phone calls a year. More than 120,000 of these are emergency 999 calls requesting immediate police attention.

The Force vision is Putting Communities First.

The Chief Constable is Adrian Lee, appointed in October 2009. The Chief Constable holds the national ACPO leads for police ethics, executive development and protocol. The Deputy Chief Constable is Suzette Davenport. The Deputy Chief Constable holds the national ACPO portfolios for roads policing and code list management. The Force Command Team is completed by two Assistant Chief Constables Andy Frost (Operations), Martin Jelley (Territorial) and an Assistant Staff Officer Linda Charker (Resources)

The Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner is Adam Simmonds.


Northamptonshire Constabulary was formed in 1840. On 1 April 1966 it merged with Northampton Borough Police to form Northampton and County Constabulary, becoming Northamptonshire Police from 1 January 1975.

In 1965, Northamptonshire Constabulary had an establishment of 442 officers and an actual strength of 387.[2]

Proposals made by the Home Secretary on 20 March 2006 would have seen the force merge with the other four East Midlands forces to form a strategic police force for the entire region.[3] These proposals were later shelved.


Police officers and staff operate from the Police Headquarters and police stations based in Brackley, Corby, Daventry, Kettering, Oundle, Northampton, Rushden, Wellingborough, alongside some of the county's major routes into the county.

The Force operates 17 Safer Community Teams and numerous specialist policing units to tackle crime across the county and support the policing of high-profile annual events, such as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which attracts thousands of people to the county.

Specialist Policing Units[edit]

Air Support[edit]

The Force shares a helicopter with Leicester and Warwickshire Police which provides air support every day of the week.

The current helicopter is a £4.3 million Eurocopter EC135P2+ which has a police call sign of Xray55. The helicopter is available to the three forces 20 hours a day, every day of the year. It can cruise at around 120 mph and can reach most areas of Northamptonshire within 10 to 12 minutes. It is routinely crewed by a pilot and two observers.

The Force has signed-up to the National Air Service which will go live in 2012/13. The new national service will aim to save money and provide flexibility, as historically each police force was only permitted operate its helicopter in its policing region.


Made of up of a number of distinct teams, the Investigations Directorate carries out investigations of some of the most serious crimes committed in the county.

The Directorate investigates the most serious elements of economic crime affecting both individuals and commerce across the county and also includes a specialist team who investigate the most serious road traffic collisions. Home to the Force's Senior Investigating Officers, SIOs provide investigative lead for serious crime and crimes of greatest concern.

Staff in the Directorate are specialists in the investigation of major and organised crime in Northamptonshire.

Police Dogs[edit]

Dogs were first introduced into the Force in the mid 1960s, and despite the improvements in crime-busting technology, dogs are becoming increasingly important, with their role getting more and more appreciation.

Northamptonshire Police have ten German Shepherd dogs who carry out general duties with their handlers. They have a range of skills including:

  • Searching for suspects and missing people
  • Locating objects dropped or concealed during a criminal incident
  • Following a track left by a person on the ground
  • Chasing and detaining a person who runs away when challenged to stop
  • Disarming violent armed suspects and controlling hostile crowds

The Force has four Spaniels and three Labrador dogs with other skills. Three of the Spaniels and one Labrador can detect the presence of illegal drugs, and will search locations including buildings, gardens and cars to find them. The same dogs are also trained in weapons recovery, and can help locate hidden firearms. One of the Spaniels and two of the Labradors specialise in searching for explosives, and they are routinely used prior to any VIP visit at major events.

Scientific Support[edit]

Northamptonshire Police employ a range of specialist staff to assist with the forensic investigation of crime using advanced techniques to capture DNA, fingerprints and other forensic evidence

The Forensic Investigation unit is responsible for the recording and recovery of photographic and forensic evidence from a wide range of crime scenes including thefts, burglaries and vehicle related crime to major crime types including murders, rapes and armed robberies. The Fingerprint Bureau search and identify finger marks from crime scenes, using (in part) a National Automated Fingerprint Identification System known as Ident1 and undertake proof of identity checks preparing expert witness evidence for court. Chemical enhancement and photography of finger marks recovered from crime scenes is undertaken by the Chemical Laboratory.

Police Specials and Cadets[edit]

Northamptonshire Police has over 400 Special Constables, the highest number in the United Kingdom of any police force. Specials hold the same powers and wear the uniform of a regular Police Officer, the difference is that the role is carried out on a voluntary basis.

Special Constables are assigned to Safer Community Teams (SCTs) and work alongside Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, and help improve public confidence and satisfaction. In addition, Specials support operations across the Force, such as Operation Guardian and Operation Nightsafe, carry out plain-clothed patrols, gather intelligence and execute warrants.

Volunteer Police Cadets (young people aged between 15 and 18) were introduced to Northamptonshire Police in June 2011. They assist local safer community teams (SCT) by helping to police events.

Police Support Volunteers[edit]

Volunteers actively support a wide variety of departments and teams across the Force. The Force has over 50 volunteers who work alongside Officers and staff in areas including Media & Marketing, Forensic Investigations, Operation Guardian and a number of Safer Community Teams.

Joint working[edit]

Northamptonshire Police have entered into joint working arrangements with Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and Nottinghamshire police forces. The five forces have combined their Special Branches, established the East Midlands Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit (CTIU), created a Major Crime Unit and expanded the role of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit.

Regional collaboration delivers financial savings while improving the five forces' capabilities and resilience.

Major Crime[edit]

Since its creation in September 2011, this unit has dealt with 31 new enquires, including over 20 murders and a recent high-profile investigation into the death of two girls in a Northampton nightclub. The cases have been spread across the East Midlands and have required cross border deployments between the five forces.

Serious Organised Crime[edit]

Activity to tackle serious and organised crime within the East Midlands is coordinated through this unit which deals with a number of complex investigations into the activity of organised crime groups. The type of offences being investigated by the unit at present include the criminal use and supply of firearms, drugs importation and distribution, burglary, armed robbery and handling stolen vehicles. In addition to live investigations, there are several cases being prosecuted through the courts.

Counter Terrorism[edit]

Between January and October 2011, the five force Special Branches were integrated with the East Midlands Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit (CTIU) into one unit, allowing them to operate under a unified command structure. This move has increased resilience for all five forces in managing and responding to the ever-changing operational threats faced in the East Midlands. The unit plays a critical role in tackling the terrorist and domestic extremist threat and as part of the national Counter Terrorism network, providing an intelligence management and handling capability.

Regional Review Unit[edit]

In its first year of operation, the Regional Review Unit conducted 65 reviews and made nearly 300 recommendations. The unit reviews undetected homicides, domestic murders, murder of vulnerable people, stranger rapes, non-stop fatal road traffic collisions, cold case rapes and cold case murders on behalf of all five forces. Other areas can also be reviewed if agreed through a tasking process. There are fixed points for reviews to occur within most types of investigations. The purpose of them is to support forces in ensuring that every opportunity to solve the crime is pursued.

Force Initiatives[edit]

Operation Guardian[edit]

Launched in September 2009, Operation Guardian is a countywide operation cracking down on vehicle crime, burglary and robbery and targets those who commit these offences.

Since the operation was launched, several thousand arrests have been made and many search warrants carried out through regular High Impact days.

As a result, crime has reduced significantly. Between April 2010 and March 2011, house burglary, robbery and vehicle crimes combined have fallen by more than 22% across Northamptonshire. This means 2,285 fewer crimes than in 2009/2010.

High Impact days are high profile days of action that target crime hotspots and areas where known criminals live. The high Impact days put pressure on local offenders and are designed to reassure residents that the Force is driving down crime in their neighbourhood.

Examples of positive results can be found on the Force website and include:

  • Three arrests made in Raunds and Irthlingborough in connection with a robbery at a bookmaker in Rushden
  • Drugs and £8000 cash seized from a property in Henshaw Road, Wellingborough, following a search – occupants subsequently evicted.
  • 17-year old man arrested in Nethermead Court, Northampton, following information from the public. He was convicted and jailed for two years for burglary.
  • Five people arrested in Far Cotton, Northampton for cocaine and heroin supply offences and currently awaiting trial.
  • Two prolific criminals from Northampton convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for crimes committed across South Northamptonshire.
  • Prolific offender from Kettering arrested and remanded in custody by the local Operation Guardian Team.
  • Cannabis factory in an old property in Thornby found and dismantled

Operation Nightsafe[edit]

Operation Nightsafe is a county wide operation designed to help keep Northamptonshires town centres safe at night. Nightsafe coordinates a highly visible policing response aimed to tackle alcohol-related violence.

Police activity under Nightsafe targets a wide range of issues including sales of alcohol to underage drinkers, pubs and clubs breaching the terms of their licences and drink related anti-social behaviour.

British Grand Prix[edit]

Every year, Northamptonshire Police work as part of a team to police the Grand Prix. In summer 2011, the British Grand Prix policing operation halved crime figures in comparison to the previous year.

There are 300,000 spectators at Silverstone over the race weekend with 122,000 on race day itself.

The Force promotes crime prevention messages to those attending and staying on the site alongside high-visibility patrols.

New Criminal Justice Centre[edit]

A new custody centre is under construction to meet the urgent need to replace and upgrade the existing small and outdated cell facilities at Campbell Square and Weston Favell police stations. The Criminal Justice Centre is scheduled for completion in July 2012 and is expected to be fully operational by September 2012. Construction is on schedule and within budget.

Kier Construction based in the East Midlands is the construction firm responsible for building the Criminal Justice Centre.

The centre will provide custody facilities of 40 cells to serve the needs of Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire. It will include over 2,000 square metres of purpose built office space bringing opportunities to realign the Force’s estate, releasing leasehold properties and temporary modular buildings, to ensure policing services are located appropriately and effectively and best able to meet the policing needs of Northamptonshire.

Notable investigations[edit]

  • Operation Seahorse, Oct 2011: corporate manslaughter investigation at Lava nightclub, Northampton[4]
  • Operation Polecat, Oct 2011: murder of Karoly Varga in Wellingborough
  • Operation Scorpion, Oct 2011: murder of John Kiernan in Kettering
  • Operation Nene, May 2011: Ding family murders in Northampton

National Recognition[edit]

Developments in Forensic Science

In 2011 while Scientific Support Manager at Northamptonshire Police, Dr John Bond was awarded an OBE for services to forensic science and to the county’s police.

An innovative partnership project between the University of Leicester and Northamptonshire Police Force resulted in ground-breaking applications of forensic science. In February 2011, a pioneering new forensic device that extracts latent fingerprints from discharged cartridge cases was launched by Consolite Forensics at Northamptonshire Police headquarters.


  1. ^ "Tables for 'Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2013". HM Government. Office for National Statistics. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  2. ^ The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965
  3. ^ "Police forces 'to be cut to 24'". BBC News. 20 March 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]

See also[edit]