Chief Constables

Durham Constabulary was one of the first county police forces to be set up in 1839, just over ten years after Sir Robert Peel formed the Metropolitan Police in London. The first Chief Constable was Major James Wemyss who had served as a staff officer at the Battle of Waterloo. He was paid £250 a year.
The force absorbed Durham City Police (formed in 1836) in 1921, Hartlepool Borough Police (formed in 1851) in 1947, Sunderland Borough Police (formed in 1837) in 1967, and Gateshead Borough Police (formed in 1836) and South Shields Borough Police (formed in 1839) in 1968, when it also lost some of its area to Teesside Constabulary.
In 1965, the force had an establishment of 1,763 and an actual strength of 1,626
Under the Local Government Act 1972, in 1974, the northern area of the force (including Gateshead, Sunderland and South Shields) became part of Northumbria Police, with Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees in the south-east going to Cleveland Constabulary.

The current geographic boundaries date back to local government reorganisation of 1974. The operational structure of the force has undergone a number of reviews and a full re-structure was implemented in 2011.


1840-1848 (8 years): Major James Wemyss

1848-1892 (44 years): Colonel George Francis White

1892-1902 (10 years): John Henry Eden

1902-1922 (20 years): William George Morant

1922-1942 (20 years): Sir George Morley

1943-1944 (1 year): Captain H. Studdy

1944-1950 (6 years): Colonel Sir Eric St Johnston  (Chief Constable of Lancashire, 1950-67)

1950-1970 (20 years): Alec A Muir

1970-1981 (11 years): Arthur George "Peter" Puckering

1981 - 1988 (7 years) Eldred James Boothby

1988-1997 (9 years): Frank Taylor

1997-2002 (5 years): George Ernest Hedges

2002-2005 (3 years): Paul T Garvin

2005–2012 (7 years): Jon Stoddart

2012–2019 (7 years): Michael Barton

2019-2023 ( 4 years): Jo Farrell

Present Chief Constable 2023 : Rachel Bacon

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