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Her appointment made historical past as she turned Durham police’s first feminine chief constable.

However for a second time throughout her three-year tenure, Jo Farrell has discovered herself on the centre of a nationwide row over a police investigation that would have penalties for the UK’s political panorama.

Durham constabulary on Friday stated they might examine claims that Sir Keir Starmer broke lockdown guidelines after days of strain from Conservative MPs and a few new disclosures from right-leaning newspapers. Labour has stated it’s going to cooperate with the inquiry.

In Could 2020, Farrell, 53, confronted comparable calls for to query Dominic Cummings after a Guardian and Mirror investigation disclosed that Boris Johnson’s then key adviser had damaged lockdown guidelines inside her pressure’s boundaries.

She didn’t authorise her officers to query Cummings over his 260-mile journey to Durham from London or a subsequent time out to Barnard Citadel to “take a look at his eyesight”.

Amid a rising row over Cummings and the police’s response, experiences claimed that Farrell was the topic of formal complaints from the general public indignant on the pressure’s response to the allegations.

On the time, Durham police put out a press release saying her pressure didn’t take retrospective motion on lockdown breaches. “Durham constabulary has not taken retrospective motion towards every other individual,” it stated.

In an interview with the Day by day Mirror final month, Farrell acknowledged the large strain on her through the Cummings furore, and stated the choice to not query Cummings throughout a three-day investigation was made consistent with her pressure’s intention to stay impartial.

“We’re apolitical, so it was my job to ensure that there was a proportionate line. Had we stopped him when he was driving to Barnard Citadel, we’d have instructed him to show round and return.

“1000’s of individuals have misplaced their lives within the pandemic so, sure, we by no means took any of this frivolously. However we couldn’t be influenced by the large political feeling about him as a person and his function inside the authorities,” she stated.

She instructed the Mirror that the pressure handled Cummings’s televised press convention in Downing Avenue’s rose backyard as a witness assertion about his behaviour as a substitute. In Could 2021, Cummings admitted to MPs that he didn’t inform the entire reality within the rose backyard.

Farrell can now anticipate to be requested to elucidate whether or not her pressure has caved in to political strain over the choice to open an inquiry into the “Beergate” claims towards Starmer.

And as soon as once more, her pressure’s each transfer through the inquiry can be intently scrutinised by politicians and the media.

Born in Wirral, Farrell and her household moved to Cambridgeshire when she was 15. After a level in enterprise at Sheffield Polytechnic, she joined the police as a constable in Cambridge in 1991 earlier than transferring to Northumbria police.

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There, she was accountable for firearms on the evening that the largest manhunt in latest prison historical past ended with the loss of life of the killer Raoul Moat, who shot himself when cornered by police.

She joined Durham constabulary in November 2016 and was appointed Chief Constable in June 2019, changing into the primary girl to carry the put up within the pressure’s 180-year historical past.

On a nationwide stage, she works on behalf of the Nationwide Police Chiefs Council within the areas of knowledge administration and prison justice file high quality, and helps the Crimestoppers charity.

She is married to a retired police officer and has two stepsons and a daughter. Away from work, Farrell says she enjoys household life, cooking and maintaining match.

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