Northumbria Police

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Northumbria Police
Logo of the Northumbria Police
Agency overview
Formed 1974
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Police area of Northumberland & Tyne and Wear, UK
England Police Forces (Northumbria).svg
Map of Northumbria Police's jurisdiction.
Size 5,551 km²
Population 1,420,400
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE20 0BL
Sworn members

3,769 (including 261 Special constables)

Unsworn members 1,722 (1,514 police staff and 208 PCSOs)
Police and Crime Commissioner responsible Vera Baird, (L)
Agency executive Steve Ashman, Chief Constable
Areas 3
* Police area agency: Prescribed geographic area in the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

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


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 (as at 1 June 2015).[2] The force headquarters are nominally located in Ponteland, Northumberland – the site being a former teacher training campus. 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] The current Chief Constable is Steve Ashman, whose appointment by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird became effective on 4 June 2015.[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) and Sue Sim (2010-2015, including a period as temporary chief constable). As of 2015, Steve Ashman is the current Chief Constable.

Northumbria is Home Office force 10.


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 Borough Police and Tynemouth had already been amalgamated into their respective county forces in the late 1960s, with the Berwick-upon-Tweed police having been merged into Northumberland 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 April 2014, Northumbria Police came under controversy when they threatened teenagers with an ASBO for building a den out of sticks in the woods.[10]

Command team[edit]

  • Chief Constable – Steve Ashman[11]
  • Temporary Deputy Chief Constable – Winton Keenen[12]
  • Assistant Chief Constable – Jo Farrell[13]
  • Temporary Assistant Chief Constable – Debbie Ford[14]
  • Assistant Chief Officer – Bernie McArdle[15]

Divisional structure[edit]

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.[16]

Identifier Area Command Area Command HQ Area
HH Northern Middle Engine Lane Police Station, Wallsend covering the local authority areas of Northumberland and North Tyneside[17]
II Central Etal Lane Police Station, Newcastle upon Tyne covering the local authority areas of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead[18]
JJ Southern South Shields Police Station covering the local authority areas of Sunderland and South Tyneside[19]

Neighbourhood policing[edit]

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.[20]

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


There are two inter-operable communication centres:

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

Officers killed in the line of duty[edit]

The Police Memorial Trust lists and commemorates all British police officers killed in the line of duty, and since its establishment in 1984 has erected over 38 memorials 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:[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 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)
  • PC Keith Blakelock, 1985 (killed during the Broadwater Farm riots while attempting to protect a fire crew)

See also[edit]


  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. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Merging of the forces (accessed 1 Feb '07)
  6. ^ Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland – merged together (accessed 1 Feb '07)
  7. ^ Opinions of the forces on the future merge (accessed 1 Feb '07)
  8. ^
  9. ^ (Accessed on 7/7/10)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links[edit]