Norfolk 2016Read more about Norfolk 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Norfolk Constabulary. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the constabulary is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime: not yet graded.
The extent to which the constabulary is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is: good.
The extent to which the constabulary is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is: good.
The efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below. My overall assessment of Norfolk’s performance will be published in spring 2017.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
PEEL assessments are updated throughout the year, as the results of the different inspections and data collections become available. The graded judgments for effectiveness will be published in March 2017. See last year’s assessment of the force’s effectiveness.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Norfolk Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force’s understanding of the current and likely future demand for its services is outstanding. It prioritises its activities effectively to manage demand and collaborates widely to achieve savings and improve services. It has sound financial and organisational plans and continues to identify savings and to invest in the future. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Norfolk Constabulary was judged to be outstanding.
Norfolk Constabulary is continuing to provide a cost-effective and efficient service to the public that keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force’s understanding of current and future demand for its services is outstanding and has highly effective processes to continue to develop its understanding. It is involved in the Better Policing Collaborative, a joint venture involving a number of universities as well as the organisation Skills for Justice, which gives it a better understanding of what works and allows it to make future decisions based on strong evidence. It has effective processes to help it understand and lessen the likely effect on its services of reducing resources in other agencies it works with. The force has a clear focus on protecting the vulnerable and identifying those crimes that victims may be reluctant to report, such as domestic abuse and modern-day slavery. Through consultation with the public, the force has a good understanding of the public’s expectations.
The force is good at using its resources to manage current demand. It makes effective decisions about using its resources in line with police and crime commissioner and force priorities. Its collaboration with other police forces, emergency services and public-sector organisations to provide savings and better services to the public is impressive, and includes sharing premises, costs and staff. In a collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary, three large software platforms have been installed across both forces to improve interoperability, reduce costs and increase efficiencies. The force uses software to model demand and staffing levels, but it needs to continue to develop its understanding of its workforce’s capabilities and identify and swiftly address any gaps to ensure it has sufficient capacity and capability to manage demand. It has a good understanding of the costs of its services, and is working with external consultants to help it understand what its spending achieves. The force continues to look for ways to improve its efficiency and save money.
Norfolk Constabulary is good at planning for demand in the future. It has developed financial and organisational plans that are practicable, credible, based on sound planning assumptions and focused on changing the way the force provides and improves services for the public. However, the force needs to ensure that it has identified the future skills required by the workforce to implement these plans.
Norfolk Constabulary has an impressive record of collaborating with other police forces and other public-sector organisations such as Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, local councils and mental health practitioners to improve the services it delivers. Although it is good at realising the benefits of its investment in most areas, it needs to do more to realise fully the benefits from its investment in ICT. However, its ability to fully utilise mobile technology is hampered by poor 3G and 4G coverage in the region.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Norfolk Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.
The force treats the public and its workforce with fairness and respect. It ensures its workforce demonstrates ethical and lawful behaviour. A wide range of wellbeing services support the workforce.
Norfolk Constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force has a strong ethical culture that the workforce understands. It seeks feedback and challenge using local media, rural newsletters, social media, the police connect messaging system (through which the public can receive updates relevant to where they live), live web chats by chief officers, the force website, traditional links with local parish and district councils and local public engagement. The force also seeks feedback from those groups with less trust and confidence in the police, and makes use of the independent advisory group and independent custody visitor scheme, as well as liaison officers.
The force makes improvements based on the feedback it receives. For example, it has changed its guidance on the use of stop and search based on feedback on perceptions of fairness from the public and the independent stop and search scrutiny panel. It recognised an increase in the number of complaints from people with autism and now has a learning package to help the workforce understand autism and adapt their approach. The force has responded to the concerns raised by rural communities and has introduced a rural crime team using members of the Special Constabulary on horses and all-terrain vehicles to increase its visibility in remote areas.
Norfolk Constabulary is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. The force vets all people joining the organisation. It gives specific and detailed guidance on gifts and hospitality, notifiable associations, use of social media, information security and standards of behaviour. It also highlights lessons learnt from recent public complaints and misconduct investigations. The force uses a range of techniques to identify individual and organisational risks, including monitoring its own internal computer systems as well as open source information on social media.
The force recognises abuse of authority for sexual gain (taking advantage of a position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime) as serious corruption. It is preparing its workforce, and partner organisations who support vulnerable victims, to recognise the signs of inappropriate relationships or behaviour.
Norfolk Constabulary is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. It uses the Ask the Chief email facility (which can be used anonymously), web chats with chief officers, staff leadership forums and seminars, online blogs by senior officers, specific forums and various staff focus groups to seek the views of its workforce. The force listens to the concerns raised by staff and takes action to address them. At the time of the inspection, it had plans to conduct a survey later in 2016 to better understand the views of the entire workforce.
The force is good at identifying and understanding the workforce’s wellbeing needs. It offers a wide range of wellbeing services, which it is looking to develop further by providing mobile health screening and occupational health drop-in centres. It is also taking preventative and early action to improve workforce wellbeing, through proactive work to raise awareness of stress and mental illness and holding workshops for staff to help them identify stress factors in themselves and others. However, the force needs fully to understand and take appropriate action to address the high levels of short- and medium-term sickness among officers and staff.
The force has made good progress in responding to last year’s findings and recently implemented a new way of assessing staff performance.
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.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
Norfolk Constabulary has worked effectively with its workforce to create clearly defined leadership expectations, which have recently been adapted as a result of the force’s joint working with Suffolk Constabulary. The force has a good understanding of much its workforce’s leadership capabilities, and uses a range of techniques to develop these where gaps are identified.
In order to ensure the force has strong leadership, the force, together with Suffolk Constabulary, has revised and recently re-launched its leadership and development programme to ensure annual staff appraisals are consistent and fair and that it identifies talent and develops its employees to be the best they can be. It adopts a range of approaches to support staff development and to address under-performance. The force actively engages with specialists and staff associations to help resolve any issues where they arise.
Norfolk Constabulary has a strong culture of innovation and a good track record of adopting best practice from (and sharing its own experience with) other organisations, including other police forces.
The force intends to use the newly revised leadership and development programme to assess the current leadership capability across the organisation, and to use this information to assess the diversity of its current leadership teams. In order to increase the diversity of skills and background experience, the force is looking to bring in talent from outside its own organisation.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Norfolk Constabulary.