Norfolk PEEL 2014
How well the force tackles crime
Norfolk Constabulary is outstanding at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force is good at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Norfolk remains a low-crime county and victim satisfaction with policing services is also higher here than the average for England and Wales. The police work well with partners to prevent crime and reduce re-offending. Its approach to reducing and preventing offending is outstanding.
Neighbourhood policing remains at the heart of the force’s approach and safer neighbourhood teams understand their local communities’ concerns and priorities. There is a strong culture of preventative policing in Norfolk and despite financial cuts the force has continued to invest in dedicated and visible resources to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhoods.
HMIC found a victim-focused approach to policing at all levels within the force, with a particularly strong emphasis on identifying and protecting the most vulnerable victims.
The force works well to investigate crimes and make sure offenders can be brought to justice effectively. HMIC was impressed by the way the force identifies and responds to emerging threats and risks to the community, with some excellent responses to so called ‘hidden crimes’ such as child online grooming and human trafficking.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public in Norfolk could have confidence that, generally, the police provided a good service to victims of domestic abuse and in doing so, helped to keep them safe. The force has a well-developed and effective response to high-risk victims of domestic abuse (those at high risk of serious harm or murder) and staff worked well with partners. The child protection inspection found that Norfolk had a strong commitment to child protection with a clear set of priorities and plans that support it, and strong leadership.
The crime inspection found that dealing with serious and organised crime was a strategic priority for Norfolk and it had identified a range of organised crime groups which were being tackled proactively. The inspection did find some inconsistency in the management of some of these groups operating in the county.
How effective is the force at reducing crime and preventing offending?
Despite a recent increase in crime in Norfolk Constabulary, crime levels remain low compared to the rest of England and Wales.
There is a strong culture of preventative policing in Norfolk and a real commitment to protecting local neighbourhood teams, and continuing to invest in dedicated and visible resources for crime prevention in the face of budget cuts elsewhere.
The force has a victim-centred approach and a strong focus on ensuring that the most vulnerable victims receive a joined-up service from all agencies. HMIC found good evidence of frontline staff working with partners to find ways to divert offenders and prevent crime.
There is strong and constructive partnership working across the county at both strategic and operational levels, producing some local programmes and initiatives which are having a positive impact on reducing crime and offending.
How effective is the force at investigating offending?
There is clear and strong leadership and direction from the chief officer team on the importance of putting the victim at the heart of policing. HMIC found strong evidence of a focus on people who are most vulnerable with some excellent responses to ensuring a coherent service, particularly to protect children and vulnerable adults.
There is a good and proactive response to identifying and responding to emerging threats and risks. HMIC found some particularly good and valued work in child safeguarding, with specialist trained staff dealing with child sexual exploitation, online grooming and trafficking.
HMIC found that investigations are conducted effectively with high levels of supervision and oversight. The rate of successfully detecting crimes is higher in Norfolk than most forces in England and Wales. There is a clear focus on developing professional investigative skills among police officers. The force is innovative and keen to learn from new approaches and tactics.
How effective is the force at tackling anti-social behaviour?
HMIC found a very clear and explicit focus on tackling anti-social behaviour with strong leadership within Norfolk Constabulary. The force has protected neighbourhood policing from cuts and continues to invest dedicated resources in tackling anti-social behaviour.
There is a good process in place for neighbourhood teams to engage with their communities and understand local concerns and priorities, followed by good partnership engagement to secure partner involvement and a joined-up response making the best use of all available resources to protect communities.
The force also works well with local partners to actively manage the risk to victims from anti-social behaviour. HMIC was impressed by the strong focus on identifying and protecting the most vulnerable victims.
There has been extensive use of a range of police tactics and joint activity with partners to reduce anti-social behaviour and to target hotspots.
How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public in Norfolk could have confidence that, generally, the police provided a good service to victims of domestic abuse and in doing so, helped to keep them safe. The inspection found that the force had a well-developed and effective response to high-risk victims of domestic abuse (those at high risk of serious harm or murder) and staff worked well with partners. The inspection found good and effective partnership working to support and safeguard victims.
The child protection inspection found that Norfolk Constabulary had a strong commitment to child protection with a clear set of priorities and plans that support it, and strong leadership. There was much good practice: for example, when a concern for a child or an incident was identified from the outset as a child protection matter, the police response was invariably good. However, the inspectors did have concerns, for example, the force did not always do enough to assess the risk suspects could pose to other vulnerable people, particularly in cases of child sexual exploitation. Practice was inconsistent in relation to children involved in long-term and high-risk domestic abuse incidents.
The crime inspection found evidence that Norfolk had taken steps to improve its response to domestic abuse. An approach to risk assessment based on threat, risk and harm was followed consistently for victims of domestic abuse. The inspection also reviewed Norfolk’s domestic violence action plan and found the plan submitted followed the national action plan template outlining activity which was in line with the agreed national priorities for forces to improve their response to domestic abuse. There was a separate action plan detailing the HMIC force recommendations.
No graded judgment in 2014
How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?
The crime inspection found that dealing with serious and organised crime was a strategic priority for Norfolk Constabulary and it had identified a range of organised crime groups which were being tackled proactively. The inspection did find some inconsistency in the management of crime groups operating in the county. The most serious crime groups, those who pose the greatest threat to the community, were effectively dealt with in collaboration with regional police partners via the regional organised crime unit. However, the inspection found that of those being dealt with by the force alone, some cases had received very limited recent police activity and some officers were unclear about their role in dealing with organised crime groups.
The value for money inspection found that Norfolk had worked with other forces across the eastern region to develop a more effective response to serious and organised crime. The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) was set up in 2010 to tackle the harm caused by organised crime groups across the region.
No graded judgment in 2014