Tonya Antonis, currently serving as a Chief Superintendent with Suffolk Constabulary, will take up her post at the end of February.
Although she has held a variety of roles in policing, for much of her 26-career she has specialised in Safeguarding, managing several high-profile investigations into Child Abuse; Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Children; Adult Abuse; Honour Base Abuse; Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking.
During a preliminary visit to Durham’s headquarters before taking up her new role, she said: “I am delighted to be joining the Durham Constabulary family.
“Durham is a great police force and I have been struck by the pride people have in the organisation, and how determined they are about preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, supporting victims and making sure criminals face justice for the harm they cause. I feel truly privileged to become part of this team.
“The county is a safe place to live but there are still those who are vulnerable and exploited. I am passionate about protecting people by tackling offenders and reducing crime.
“I’m looking forward to getting out and about, meeting my new colleagues, our partners and communities across the county. I will be doing everything I can to work with them all in order to continue to deliver excellent policing across County Durham and Darlington”.
Tonya joined Suffolk Constabulary in 1996 and has served her entire policing career to date with the East Anglian force, first in uniformed roles and then as a detective.
Alongside her Safeguarding roles, she has previously held the role of County Policing Commander, with a background in public order, and has worked in both Cyber and Intelligence.
Tonya has a keen interest in diversity in policing and played a key role in the recent National Policing Uplift Programme, where she helped devise and design the nationally adopted Diversity, Equality and Inclusion strategy to bring under-represented groups into the service.
Away from work, Hertfordshire-born Tonya represented Great Britain in the gruelling sport of triathlon and won silver at the 2010 Duathlon European Championships held in France.
She will take over the post from outgoing ACC John Ward, who is retiring from policing.
Chief Constable Jo Farrell said: “I am certain Tonya will be a fantastic asset to the constabulary and am delighted to welcome her to Durham.
“She brings with her a depth of knowledge and experience in the challenging field of Safeguarding, which will support our dedicated staff and officers in their relentless efforts to protect victims, bring perpetrators before the courts and deliver justice for survivors.
“The force is committed to tackling high harm crime and I have complete confidence that Tonya will make a significant contribution to ensure Durham delivers on that commitment.
“I would also like to take the opportunity, on behalf of all at Durham Constabulary, to thank John Ward for his dedicated service over the years and wish him well in his retirement.”