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HMIC is consulting on its proposed inspection programme for 2017/18

Please give us your views by 5pm on Friday 24 February 2017.

Suffolk PEEL 2015

Effectiveness

How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 18/02/2016
Good

Suffolk Constabulary is good at reducing crime, keeping people safe and preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.

There are some areas for improvement in services to keep vulnerable people, particularly children safe. Generally, the constabulary has a strong focus on preventing crime and keeping people safe with a commitment to visible local policing. It works well with partner organisations to investigate crime and manage offenders, including those involved in serious and organised crime. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.

There is a clear commitment from both the constabulary and the police and crime commissioner to the importance of preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Suffolk Constabulary works well with partner organisations. Despite financial constraints, the constabulary has retained a strong local policing presence to work alongside local communities and partner organisations to understand and tackle local concerns but it could do more to systematically understand and share what works to ensure it uses its reducing resources in the most effective way.

Suffolk Constabulary generally provides a good service in identifying and supporting vulnerable people and responds well to them. However, there are several areas where improvement is needed to ensure the service is consistent and that vulnerable people, particularly children, are kept safe. It now needs to build on the good work it is doing to ensure that it results in a consistently high quality service.

Suffolk Constabulary’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders is good. The constabulary investigates crimes effectively, ensuring it has the right people with the right skills to fight crime and bring offenders to justice but needs to do more to ensure that staff are appropriately trained to continue providing an adequate level of service to victims. There is a focus on diverting offenders away from crime and there are good examples of partnership working.

The constabulary has a good understanding of serious and organised crime and is working well to tackle it. The leadership has strong oversight of the constabulary’s ability to respond to national threats, such as serious cyber-crime incidents and child sexual abuse. Its own arrangements for ensuring it can meet its national obligations in this regard (such as planning, testing and exercising) are effective.

 

Questions for Effectiveness

1

How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?

HMIC judges that Suffolk Constabulary is good at preventing crime, anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. This is consistent with the findings of the 2014 crime inspection. Suffolk remains a low crime area when compared to the rest of England and Wales.

There is a clear commitment from both the constabulary and the police and crime commissioner to the importance of preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It works well with partner organisations both at the constabulary-wide level and in local neighbourhoods. There is a strong culture of preventative policing in Suffolk and a commitment to proactively engage and work with partners to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.

Despite financial constraints, the constabulary has retained a strong local policing presence to work alongside local communities and partner organisations to understand and tackle local concerns but it could do more to systematically understand and share what works to ensure it uses its resources in the most effective way.

It effectively shares information with partners to keep people safe, although the constabulary needs to ensure partners are effectively engaged in their plans for the future policing model.
HMIC found inconsistencies in the approaches taken by different neighbourhood teams to understand local communities and the way problems are solved. The constabulary could do more to ensure consistency across the county.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The constabulary should routinely evaluate tactics and share effective practice – both internally and with partners – to continually improve its approach to the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
2

How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?

Suffolk Constabulary’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders is good. This is consistent with the finding of HMICs 2014 crime inspection. There are examples of effective services and some minor areas where the constabulary could improve its effectiveness.

Processes for the initial allocation and investigation of crimes work well, generally the right people with the right skills are used to investigate crimes and support victims. We found that the quality of subsequent investigations is good with effective supervision.

The constabulary has a wide range of accredited specialists to support more complex investigations and has introduced a career pathway for detectives. The constabulary needs to ensure that it has the ability to train future investigators to ensure an appropriate level of service to victims.

Multi-agency arrangements for dealing with sexual and other dangerous offenders work well with specialist staff reducing the risk they pose, through clear supervision and governance arrangements.

Forensic and digital specialists support investigations well, and investment in staff and technology has reduced delays and improved the quality of service.

The constabulary works well with partner organisations to identify and divert vulnerable offenders out of the criminal justice system and with repeat and dangerous offenders to stop them re-offending.

Good
3

How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?

Suffolk Constabulary generally provides a good service in identifying vulnerable people and responds well to them. However, there are several areas where improvement is needed to ensure the service is consistent and that vulnerable people, particularly children, are kept safe.

The PCC and chief officer team has made protecting vulnerable people a clear priority for the constabulary, and police officers and staff understand and share this commitment. It has invested additional resources in the parts of its organisation which supports those who are vulnerable and keeps them safe.

Overall, the constabulary effectively identifies repeat and vulnerable victims and responds to them appropriately. It also investigates those crimes committed against the most vulnerable victims well, and generally assigns the right level of expertise relative to the complexity of investigation. However, the caseload within the teams who deal with rape and child abuse investigations are on occasions unacceptably high, and can become unmanageable, therefore leading to delays in investigation and a reduced service to the victim.

The constabulary needs to do more to ensure it provides a consistent and co-ordinated response to missing and absent children. It has made a good start in ensuring it is well prepared to tackle child sexual exploitation. Officers attending domestic abuse incidents know how to assess risk and keep victims safe.



Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The constabulary should improve its investigation of cases involving vulnerable victims by ensuring officers and staff within the specialist child protection and rape investigation teams have their workloads properly supervised to ensure a timely and effective investigation. The constabulary should review the resourcing levels immediately to ensure they are appropriate, so that it conducts timely and effective investigations.
  • The constabulary should improve its initial investigation of cases involving vulnerable victims by ensuring responding officers have access to photographic and/or video recording equipment to take evidence of injuries and scenes.
  • The constabulary should improve its compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime specifically in relation to victim personal statements.
  • The constabulary should improve its response to missing and absent children by ensuring there is clarity for frontline officers and supervisors as to their roles and responsibilities in relation to risk assessment and safeguarding action.
4

How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?

Suffolk Constabulary is generally effective at identifying and tackling serious and organised crime groups in its area. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their effectiveness at tackling serious and organised crime, including a force’s arrangements for ensuring that it can fulfil its national policing responsibilities, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

The constabulary works effectively in collaboration with Norfolk Constabulary to pool resources and provide a better service. It has a good understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime, it responds well to tackle it and is continuing to develop the involvement of partner organisations in its response. There are some good examples of effective work to disrupt organised crime and to protect vulnerable communities from being targeted by organised crime groups. It also has access to an extensive range of specialist policing capabilities provided by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit.

HMIC’s crime inspection in 2014 identified the need to involve frontline officers more in its fight against serious and organised crime. The constabulary has made some progress towards this and needs to continue this work.

There are robust arrangements to oversee the constabulary’s national policing responsibilities, and to test its responses.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should add relevant data from partner agencies to its serious and organised crime local profile, and ensure that it has a local partnership structure in place with responsibility for tackling serious and organised crime.