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Sussex 2015

Read more about Sussex 2015

This is HMIC’s second assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy with which Sussex Police keeps people safe and reduces crime. PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) gives you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas. It does this in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year-on-year.

The extent to which Sussex Police is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which Sussex Police is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime good.

The extent to which Sussex Police is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

This year, for the first time, we have assessed leadership across the force. The assessment has led to a narrative rather than graded judgment, which is summarised below.

Read more about my assessment of Sussex Police’s performance this year, including exceptional events and where I would like to see improvements next year.

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Read the transcript of the video

Contact Zoë Billingham

HMI’s observations

I am very pleased with the performance of Sussex Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime.

Sussex Police has a clear commitment to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour with a good understanding of the demands it faces. I am impressed with the force’s continuing work with others to keep people safe, including protecting victims and the most vulnerable people.

The force is good at supporting vulnerable victims and has clear processes to identify them at an early stage. The concern I had last year about the quality of crime investigations has been addressed by the positive response from the force. The quality of crime investigation is now good. The force works well to stop re-offending and is good at tackling serious and organised crime.

The force has a thorough understanding of its current demand and its finances. The force’s plans for change build on a strong neighbourhood policing approach, and the preparatory work in designing the new operating model is robust. The force communicates well with its communities, particularly through effective use of social media.

The ethical culture, with a commitment to the wellbeing of the workforce in Sussex Police, is a testament to the strong and visible leadership provided by the chief officer team.

Description of force area

Sussex Police provides policing services to the areas of East, West and Mid Sussex. Although there are some areas of deprivation, Sussex is generally affluent. Around 1.7 million people mainly live in the urban centres, especially along the south coast, which include the city of Brighton and the towns of Bognor Regis, Hastings, Hove, and Horsham. The resident population is increased by university students and the very large numbers who visit, socialise in, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes major rail stations, a major airport and major sea ports.

The proportion of areas in Sussex that are predicted to present a very high challenge to the police is lower than the national average. These are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both. Providing services across the entirety of the force area is hindered by the road network.

Exceptional events

Sussex Police, working with partner agencies, undertook a significant operation in response to the crash of an historic Hawker Hunter jet on to the main A27 road during the Shoreham Airshow in August 2015. In the region of 520 police officers and staff were deployed, along with additional officers and staff from other forces, to provide support to the families of the eleven victims, to undertake investigative work and to ensure that the A27 was reopened as quickly as possible.

Working arrangements

The force has developed collaborative arrangements with Surrey Police. Although the forces have recently decided not to progress collaboration in some front line operational policing areas, work continues to collaborate in many support functions. The force is also part of a collaboration to develop a south east contact centre, which also involves Surrey Police and the ambulance and fire services.

Effectiveness

In our effectiveness inspection, we judged Sussex Police to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, but recent changes in its neighbourhood policing teams means there is now less focus on crime prevention. It continues to work well with others to keep people safe, including protecting victims and the most vulnerable people. The quality of crime investigation is good, and the force works well to stop re-offending. It is good at tackling serious and organised crime and fulfilling its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

Efficiency

Sussex Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has a thorough understanding of its current demand, its finances and its plans for change. Its direction of travel is one of improvement from an already strong base. The preparatory work in designing the new operating model is robust and gives the force a good understanding of demand. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, Sussex Police was judged to be good.

Legitimacy

The force is making good efforts to create and maintain an ethical culture. Decision-making by Taser-trained officers is fair and appropriate and the force is complying with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.

This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

Leadership

Sussex Police is a well led organisation and has a clear sense of its future direction. The force has a good understanding of the capacity and capability of its leadership at senior levels, though more work is required to better understand this throughout the force. The chief officer team values workforce wellbeing, and works hard to promote this.

Insights from other inspections

HMIC undertakes other inspections in addition to the PEEL programme. Since the last PEEL assessment there have been five reports published on inspections that included Sussex Police. More detail on some of these inspections can be found under the Other inspections section.

Looking ahead to PEEL 2016

In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment, and to the areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.

I will be particularly interested to see how the phased introduction of the new local policing model, including changes to the role of police community support officers, will enable the force to maintain its strong focus on neighbourhood policing and crime prevention.

In May 2016, like the majority of forces in England and Wales, the force will see the second elections for its police and crime commissioner.

 

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 18/02/2016
Good

Sussex Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

The force is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, but recent changes in its neighbourhood policing teams means there is now less focus on crime prevention. It continues to work well with others to keep people safe, including protecting victims and the most vulnerable people. The quality of crime investigation is good, and the force works well to stop re-offending. It is good at tackling serious and organised crime and fulfilling its national policing responsibilities. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so a year-on-year comparison is not possible.

The force is committed to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It has fully developed neighbourhood policing teams that work well with partner organisations and has made good progress over recent years in its priority to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. However, staffing numbers in the neighbourhood policing teams are reducing, in advance of the introduction of a new way of working for local policing. This is limiting the force’s capacity to translate its priority into action. Many staff are now unclear as to where their priorities should lie in the face of many competing demands.

Sussex Police’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders is good. When a crime occurs, the force carries out high quality investigations generally. This includes making sure victims are safe, although they are not always kept informed as they should be.

The force has invested in more staff and resources in its safeguarding investigation units to ensure high-quality investigations and continued improvement of support to vulnerable people.

The force continues to build strong partnerships with other organisations, and works constructively with them to ensure victims get the services they need to protect and support them.

The force has a good understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime. As well as having its own dedicated capability to tackle serious organised crime, it is well supported by high skilled and experienced staff from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit, which provides specialist skills and resources to disrupt the organised crime groups that operate at a regional level. The force leadership has strong oversight of the force’s ability to respond to national threats, such as terrorism, national 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 good.

 

View the four questions for effectiveness

Efficiency

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

Last updated 20/10/2015
Good

HMIC found that Sussex Police is well prepared to face its future financial challenges. The force has a thorough understanding of its current demand, its finances and its plans for change. Its direction of travel is one of improvement from an already strong base. The preparatory work in designing the new operating model is robust and gives the force a good understanding of demand. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Sussex Police was judged to be good.

HMIC judges Sussex Police to be good. The force has a good understanding of its current and future demand for local policing services and has sufficient resources to respond to calls for service and meet that demand. For example, the force has identified the top generators of demand such as those families identified through the ‘troubled families’ programme and those incidents relating to mental health issues. It has put in place intervention measures with other public sector organisations to reduce that demand. That level of understanding of demand is not yet evident in other policing areas of specialist crime. The force has started work to further develop that understanding but it is not yet a mature product. The force plans to further improve its understanding of demand to bring radical changes in working practices and a reduction of workforce numbers in principal areas of police activity. However, implementation of the new policing model is only just beginning and it is therefore too early to judge the programme’s success.

The force has a robust change programme and has undertaken strong preparatory analysis and design to deliver a comprehensive business case that underpins the new local policing model.

The force has a good track record of financial management, achieving the savings required and a balanced budget. Having achieved savings of £56.9m during the spending review period, the force forecast that a further £57m needs to be saved up to 2020. The force has clear plans as to how it will achieve the budget savings and the large reduction in workforce numbers that it needs to make over the next five years, while still delivering high quality policing services.

 

View the three questions for efficiency

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

The force is making good efforts in creating and maintaining an ethical culture. Decision-making by Taser-trained officers is fair and appropriate and the force is complying with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.

This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

The chief constable and deputy chief constable have made considerable efforts to work with staff to stress the importance of the Code of Ethics and the need for an ethical culture.

The force is proactive in promoting the wellbeing of staff, for example with training, workshops and wellbeing clinics, as well as the force physiotherapy scheme. The force intranet contains information and guidance regarding health and welfare, although this is limited for managers and supervisors when supporting those on restricted duties and those who have experienced traumatic cases or incidents.

We found no bias in respect of gender, ethnicity or rank in how the force deals with complaints and internal misconduct allegations, although the force has insufficient supervisory arrangements for complaints that are locally resolved.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found that the force has good consultation arrangements with its communities and creates opportunities for people to contribute to policing as volunteers. As a result, the force is working well to engage with the people it serves.

Stop and search and Taser are two ways that the police can prevent crime and protect the public. However, they can be intrusive and forceful methods, and it is therefore vital the police use them fairly and appropriately. HMIC considers that the force complies with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. Taser use is fair and appropriate in Sussex Police.

View the four questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

How well has the force performed in our other inspections?

In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMIC carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections (for instance, our 2016 leadership assessment); others are joint inspections.

Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.

Leadership

Last updated 25/02/2016

As part of HMIC’s annual all-force inspections into police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) in 2015, HMIC assessed how well led forces are at every rank and grade of the organisation and across all areas inspected in PEEL. We reviewed how well a force understands and is developing its leaders; whether it has set a clear and compelling future direction; and how well it motivates and engages the workforce.

Sussex Police is a well led organisation and has a clear sense of its future direction. The force has a good understanding of the capacity and capability of its leadership at senior levels, though more work is required to better understand this throughout the force.

The force has improved the way it monitors and improves performance. It now holds monthly structured appraisals for many police staff and officers.

The force values workforce wellbeing, and its chief officer team is proactive in tackling the negative impact of police staff and officers working long hours.

View the four questions for leadership

Other reports

Last updated 22/02/2016

This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Sussex Police.

View other reports

Key facts

Force Area

1,460 square miles

Population

1.65m people 9% local 10 yr change

Workforce

76% frontline 78% national level
3.0 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
13% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

0.05 per person 0.05 national level
Local 5 year trend National 5 year trend (no change)

Cost

43p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

The area covers the rural and urban counties of East and West Sussex and the city of Brighton and Hove. The force works closely with Surrey Police.

Sussex has millions of visitors each year from the UK and overseas, including 39 million passengers travelling through Gatwick Airport.

Police and crime plan priorities

  • Crime & Community Safety – keeping Sussex a low crime area
  • Victim Focus – improving victims’ and witnesses’ experience of the criminal justice system
  • Public Confidence- building trust in the police
  • Value for Money- improving efficiency through collaboration and innovation