This page provides information and contact details for the different elements of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in the region:

The contents of this page is also available in a downloadable briefing document.


The police are responsible for preventing and detecting crime, keeping the peace and enforcing the law.

In the North East there are three police force areas; Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland. They are held to account by publicly elected Police and Crime Commissioners.

Northumbria Police Force Area

Northumbria Police cover more than 2,000 square miles, from the Scottish border to County Durham; from the Pennines to the North East coast. It is made up of the boroughs of North and South Tyneside, Sunderland, Newcastle, Gateshead and the County of Northumberland.

It has a population of 1.4 million people. Crime has continuously fallen over the last 15 years. 2011/12 end of year figures show the total number of crimes as 75,504 compared with 1992 where there were 203,972 recorded crimes.

Chief Constable - Winton Keenan

More information about Northumbria Police Force and local neighbourhood policing teams can be found at the Northumbria Police website.

Durham Police Force Area

Durham force area has a total population of more than 600,000 people covering a total of 860 square miles. This includes the historic city of Durham, the major town of Darlington, numerous smaller towns and villages and the largely rural areas of Teesdale and Weardale.

The force continues to perform well and is currently seeing reduced levels of crime and anti-social behaviour when compared with 2011/12. As a result, recorded crime is at its lowest level since 1983 with County Durham and Darlington having some of the lowest crime rates nationally.

Chief Constable - Michael Barton

More information about Durham Police Force and local neighbourhood policing teams can be found at the Durham Police website.

Cleveland Police Force Area

The Cleveland Police area covers approximately 230 square miles and has a population of over 554,000. Cleveland Police area is divided into four policing basic command units, known locally as districts, which are coterminous with the four unitary authorities of Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees. The force is responsible for policing a predominantly urban, densely populated area, closely resembling metropolitan authorities in socio-economic characteristics and policing needs.

Chief Constable - Mike Veale

More information about Cleveland Police Force and local neighbourhood policing teams can be found at the Cleveland Police website.


Crown Prosecution Service North East

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was set up in 1986 to prosecute criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

The CPS is responsible for deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to charge and prosecute an alleged offender.  There are also specialists whose job it is to pursue the proceeds of crime, ensuring that money made through illegal activities is retrieved.

Within Witness Care Units, CPS staff work extremely closely with the police and Victim Support to provide information, support, and advice to victims and witnesses. The work they do is often the key to achieving a successful conviction.

In undertaking this role, CPS North East continues to:

  • Advise police forces in Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland on cases for possible prosecution.
  • Review cases submitted by the police for prosecution.
  • Determine the charge in all serious cases.
  • Prepare cases for court.
  • Present those cases at court

Chief Crown Prosecutor - Andrew Penhale

More information about the North East Crown Prosecution Service can be found at the CPS website.


The Courts

The courts are divided into Magistrates and Crown Courts. All cases are initially heard at Magistrates Courts. Less serious offences are dealt with at this level. Some cases can be dealt with either at the Magistrates or Crown Court. More serious offences must be referred by Magistrates court to Crown Court.

Magistrates are volunteers that have been specially trained and have the support and advice of legally qualified court clerks.

Find your nearest court or tribunal in the North East.


Probation Service

From 1st June 2014 Probation Trusts split into publicly owned Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC’s) and a National Probation Service.

CRC staff work to protect the public, reduce reoffending, support victims and rehabilitate offenders. The probation service supervise adult offenders serving community orders and released from prison on licence and work with other agencies to provide offenders with help and support with accommodation, employment and education, drug treatment and debt advice.

Probation Trusts also lead on Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) which is a system for bringing together agencies to manage sexual and violent offenders. Under the new reforms the new National Probation Service will have responsibility for MAPPA.

In the North East, there are two community rehabilitation companies.

The North East Division of National Probation Service (NPS) stretches from the Scottish border to Lincolnshire. It works with five community rehabilitation companies across the division, including Northumbria, Durham Tees Valley, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and Humberside, Lincolnshire & North Yorkshire.

The Deputy Director for the NPS North East division is Lynda Marginson email:


HMP Prison Service

There are seven prisons in the North East. They are categorised according to the level of security each one provides. 

Category A prisons hold the most dangerous prisoners. The rest of the prison estate comprises Category B prisons, Category C (training) prisons, Category D (open or resettlement) prisons.

  • HMYOI Deerbolt, Bowes Road, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 9BG.
    • Governor - Gavin O'Malley
    • Tel: 01833 633200

Deerbolt is a Category C young offenders establishment that caters for approximately 500 male young offenders between the ages of 18 – 21, generally serving sentences up to 4 years in length.

  • HMP Durham, Old Elvet, Durham, DH1 3HU.
    • Acting Governor - Phil Husband
    • Tel: 0191 332 3400

HMP Durham is a Category B local prison which accommodates 1017 young offenders age 18 - 21, adult males over 21 sentenced, convicted or remanded from the Tyneside, Durham and Cumbria courts.

  • HMP Frankland, Brasside, Durham, DH1 5YD.
    • Governor - Norman Griffin
    • Tel: 0191 376 5000

HMP Frankland accommodate Category A and B adult males serving 4 years and over, in-determined or life sentences plus high and standard risk category A remands.

  • HMP Holme House, Stockton on Tees, TS18 2QU.
    • Governor - Chris Dyer
    • Tel: 01642 744000

Holme House is a large Category B local prison for male adult prisoners, remand and convicted: It also holds a small number of young men on remand (18-21).

  • HMP Kirklevington Grange, Yarm, Cleveland, TS15 9PA.
    • Governor - Angie Petit
    • Tel: 01642 792600

HMP Kirklevington is a Category C and D semi open prison. It was built as a resettlement prison for 283 adult male offenders. 

  • HMP and YOI Low Newton, Brasside, Durham, DH1 5YA.
    • Governor - Gabrielle Lee
    • Tel: 0191 3764000

Low Newton is a closed, female prison and young offender institution accommodating 336 women. It holds a small number of life sentenced prisoners Low Newton serves the courts in the catchment area from the Scottish Borders to North Yorkshire across to North Cumbria.

  • HMP Northumberland, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE65 9XG.
    • Controller - David Gibbs
    • Tel: 01670 383100

HMP Northumberland is a Male Adult Category C prison and has the capacity to accommodate 1348 prisoners. From the 1 December 2013 HMP Northumberland formally transferred to the management of Sodexo Justice Services.