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Norfolk PEEL 2016

Effectiveness

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

Last updated 02/03/2017
Good

Norfolk Constabulary is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Investigations are conducted to a high standard, and vulnerable victims receive a good service. The force is good at tackling serious and organised crime, and its approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour is outstanding. Our overall judgment is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness.

Norfolk Constabulary is outstanding at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It has a good understanding of the threats to and risks of harm in the communities it serves, helped by its close working with partners, and it has achieved large reductions in the rate of anti-social behaviour in the county. Every neighbourhood is assigned a team of police officers and PCSOs, who are at the core of community work and whose primary role is to prevent crime and engage with communities. The force works closely with other partner organisations, such as local councils, in developing a range of effective ways to stop anti-social behaviour from escalating. It is clear that the force’s commitment to working with others improves the quality of policing services in its communities, an example being the introduction of the early help hubs that bring a range of public services together to provide help to families as soon as the need emerges.

Crime investigations are conducted to a high standard, and officers ensure evidence is collected and preserved effectively. However, the force needs to take action to reduce the backlog of crimes awaiting closure. Processes to track and arrest outstanding suspects and people who are wanted are very good. The force identifies and monitors those who pose the greatest risk to the community very well and it prepares thoroughly to manage the behaviour of dangerous offenders and sex offenders. The force has an impressive high-tech crime unit with Suffolk Constabulary and has invested in new technology and training to ensure that evidence can be secured from smartphones and other devices to support prosecutions.

The force is good at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims. It is effective at identifying risk and deploying resources appropriately to incidents that involve people who are vulnerable, and it works closely with partner organisations to protect those who are vulnerable or have particular needs. The force has one of the highest domestic abuse arrest rates and it prosecutes more domestic abuse offences than any other force in England and Wales, which means that victims are more likely to receive an outcome that better fits the severity of the crime committed against them.

Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies work closely together to provide an effective joint response to serious and organised crime. The force works well with partner organisations to identify and disrupt organised crime groups and actively manages criminals by imposing conditions on their financial, property and business dealings. It works with communities to help prevent young people from being drawn into gangs or organised criminality using programmes such as the Prince’s Trust and its own cadet scheme to work with young people who are likely to be disaffected.

Norfolk Constabulary is well prepared to meet the threats outlined within the Strategic Policing Requirement (SPR) and regularly tests its plans to ensure they are effective. The force is in a state of readiness to respond to an attack requiring an armed response, and reviewed this following the attacks in Paris in October 2015.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

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

Norfolk Constabulary is outstanding at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. It understands the threats facing its communities and combines the intelligence it holds with information from other organisations to keep this understanding up to date.

Its safer neighbourhood teams engage well with communities and have responsibility for keeping vulnerable people safe, particularly those who have been victims of crime. The force has introduced specialist officers to work with communities which may not traditionally have had much contact with or trust in the police. The safer schools partnership team provides an excellent service, working with all secondary schools to raise awareness of how young people can become the victims of crime.

The force is effective at working with other organisations to protect communities and victims. It continues to develop new approaches to joint working, for example the early help hubs.
Incidents of anti-social behaviour are falling, and the force uses a wide range of methods to support victims and encourage offenders to face up to their behaviour and the effect it has on others.

Outstanding
2

How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?

Norfolk Constabulary is good at investigating crime and managing offenders. Those answering calls from the public in the force’s control room are well trained and thorough in assessing calls for service.

Crime investigations are conducted to a high standard, and officers ensure evidence is collected and preserved effectively. Processes to track and arrest outstanding suspects and people who are wanted are very good. The introduction of a new crime-reporting system has presented some problems in the management of crime, and there were many investigations that were awaiting closure at the time of our visit.

Norfolk Constabulary has an impressive high-tech crime unit with Suffolk Constabulary and has invested in new technology and training to ensure that evidence can be secured from smartphones and other devices to support prosecutions.

The force is aware of the obligations to victims set out in the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, and knowledge levels among frontline officers are good. The force has identified some areas where it is not fully compliant with the code and is addressing these through improved training. The force retains very high levels of victim satisfaction.

Norfolk Constabulary is good at protecting the public from the most prolific, serious and dangerous offenders. Its integrated offender management scheme is well managed and fully supported by other organisations.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should reduce the backlog of crimes awaiting closure in the incident management unit.
  • The force should ensure that it is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime.
3

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

Norfolk Constabulary is good at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims. Those in the control room are effective at identifying risk and deploy resources appropriately to incidents that involve people who are vulnerable, but the force needs to ensure that victims of domestic abuse awaiting an officer are not being exposed to harm.

The force responds well to the immediate and longer-term needs of vulnerable victims; it works closely with a variety of organisations to protect those who are vulnerable and support victims. Joint working arrangements to support victims of sexual and other offences where victims have particular needs are effective. However, the force should review its approach to missing and absent children.

Frontline officers follow a clear process to assess risk and support victims; the standards of initial investigations are thorough. There are some areas where more could be made of preventative legislation to support victims; this involves orders which prohibit further contact with victims and laws which allow the offending history of a perpetrator to be disclosed to a potential victim. There are unacceptable delays in the disclosure of information in some Clare’s Law cases.

Positive action is taken to arrest offenders whenever this is possible, and the force prosecutes more domestic abuse perpetrators than elsewhere in England and Wales. The public of Norfolk can be confident that a good service will be provided to victims of crime and it is clear that they have confidence in the service that the force provides.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should review how it handles domestic abuse cases which are waiting for an officer to be assigned; in particular, it should ensure that victims are not being exposed to harm because of unnecessary delays.
  • The force should review its absent and missing children procedures in the control room to ensure that it is properly investigating the cases of children who are categorised as absent.
  • The force should review its use of preventative legislation, particularly Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Notices, and Clare’s Law, to ensure that it is making best use of these powers to safeguard victims of domestic abuse.
4

How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?

Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies work together under the leadership of an assistant chief constable in providing an effective joint response to tackle serious and organised crime. A recently formed local organised crime joint board provides a focus for this task and brings a range of organisations together to disrupt organised crime. Local policing teams have an improved knowledge of organised crime within their communities, and enforcement activity against organised crime groups is common.

The force is taking steps to understand newer and emerging threats such as human trafficking and cyber-crime better. The force maps organised crime groups thoroughly in accordance with national guidance. Specialist support to disrupt serious and organised crime can be quickly accessed, and there are good links with the regional organised crime unit.

The force actively manages criminals by imposing conditions on their financial, property and business dealings.

The force works with communities to help prevent young people from being drawn into gangs or organised criminality but could do more to work with other organisations in the lifetime management of offenders.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with other organisations; this would enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat.
  • The force should enhance its approach to the lifetime management of organised criminals to limit their offending.
5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies work together under the leadership of an assistant chief constable in providing an effective joint response to tackle serious and organised crime. A recently formed local organised crime joint board provides a focus for this task and brings a range of organisations together to disrupt organised crime. Local policing teams have an improved knowledge of organised crime within their communities, and enforcement activity against organised crime groups is common.

The force is taking steps to understand newer and emerging threats such as human trafficking and cyber-crime better. The force maps organised crime groups thoroughly in accordance with national guidance. Specialist support to disrupt serious and organised crime can be quickly accessed, and there are good links with the regional organised crime unit.

The force actively manages criminals by imposing conditions on their financial, property and business dealings.

The force works with communities to help prevent young people from being drawn into gangs or organised criminality but could do more to work with other organisations in the lifetime management of offenders.

Ungraded

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that its armed policing threat and risk assessment considers and specifies plans to deal with attacks on places that attract large crowds.