Norfolk PEEL 2015
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Overall HMIC judges Norfolk Constabulary to be good at reducing crime and keeping people safe.
The constabulary is outstanding in the way it prevents crime and anti-social behaviour, with impressive recent reductions in anti-social behaviour across the county. Vulnerable victims are well-supported and the constabulary 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.
The constabulary has a very strong focus on crime and anti-social behaviour prevention. It has directed significant resources to preventative work. The constabulary is actively involved in an impressive range of joint working arrangements, projects and initiatives to identify local priorities and community concerns and to make best use of police and partner organisations’ joint resources to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
The constabulary is focused on identifying and supporting vulnerable victims and has invested heavily in this area. It responds well to victims of domestic abuse and missing children and continues to develop its approach to tackling child sexual exploitation.
It investigates crimes effectively, ensuring it has the right people with the right skills to fight crime and bring offenders to justice. The constabulary is focused on diverting offenders away from crime and we saw excellent examples of partnership working to this end. Norfolk has a good understanding of serious and organised crime and is working well to tackle this. 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.
How effective is the force at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour, and keeping people safe?
HMIC judges that Norfolk Constabulary is outstanding at preventing crime, anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. This is consistent with the findings of HMIC’s 2014 crime inspection.
Norfolk remains a low-crime area when compared to the rest of England and Wales. We found a clear commitment from both the constabulary and the police and crime commissioner to the importance of preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.
Norfolk Constabulary works extremely well with partner organisations to keep people safe and tackle anti-social behaviour at a strategic constabulary-wide level and in local neighbourhoods. There is a strong culture of preventative policing in Norfolk and a real commitment to proactively engage and work with partners to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.
The constabulary has allocated significant resources to preventive work. It is actively involved in an impressive range of joint working arrangements, projects and initiatives to identify local priorities and community concerns and to make best use of police and partner organisations’ joint resources to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. The constabulary remains a safe county despite recent increases in recorded crime.
Norfolk Constabulary is innovative in its approach to partnership working and to trying out new projects and tactics to fight crime and protect communities. It continues to develop how it evaluates what works through its better policing collaborative.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and managing offenders?
Norfolk Constabulary’s approach to investigating crime and managing offenders is good. This is consistent with the finding of last year’s crime inspection. The constabulary has restructured the way it uses its resources to further improve services, but the constabulary could improve its effectiveness in some minor areas.
The constabulary’s processes for the initial allocation and investigation of crimes work well. We found that the quality of subsequent investigations is good with appropriate supervision.
Generally the right people with the right skills are used to investigate crime and keep victims safe. The constabulary has a wide range of accredited specialists to support more complex investigations and it recognises the value in providing appropriate training for detectives to ensure it maintains the right skills to consistently provide a good service.
Forensic and digital specialists support investigations well, and investment in staff and technology has reduced delays and improved the quality of service. The constabulary plans to introduce better management oversight when following up on forensic evidence. Similarly the constabulary needs to supervise better the arrest of those offenders who fail to surrender to police and court bail and those circulated as wanted nationally.
The constabulary works well with partner organisations to identify and divert vulnerable offenders away from the criminal justice system, and also with repeat and dangerous offenders to stop them re-offending.
How effective is the force at protecting from harm those who are vulnerable, and supporting victims?
Strong leadership from both the constabulary and the police and crime commissioner ensures that protecting vulnerable people is a priority. The public can be confident that many victims are well supported and victims are kept safe from harm. HMIC judges the constabulary’s performance to be good.
The constabulary effectively identifies repeat and vulnerable victims and responds to them well. It also investigates crime committed against most vulnerable victims well, with generally the right level of expertise involved in the right complexity of investigation.
There is a clear, structured and well-supervised process for responding to reports that children are missing or absent. Work between professionals in the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) helps keep these children safe, and provides effective escalation should there be increased levels of risk. The constabulary has made a good start in ensuring it is well-prepared to tackle child sexual exploitation and has invested resources in this area.
Those officers who attend domestic abuse incidents have a good knowledge of how to assess risk and keep victims safe. They can refer to a helpful booklet and check list to ensure this process is done properly and HMIC found that they were well-supervised.
Norfolk Constabulary has made good progress since the HMIC domestic abuse inspection in 2014. For example, the constabulary has brought together those staff responsible for safeguarding victims and those who carry out specialist investigations into crimes against vulnerable victims.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime, including its arrangement for fulfilling its national policing responsibilities?
Norfolk 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.
Norfolk Constabulary works effectively with Suffolk 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 continues to develop the involvement of partner organisations in its response. We saw 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 for greater clarity in the responsibilities and management of tackling organised crime groups. The constabulary has largely addressed this and has raised awareness among frontline staff of organised crime groups operating in their area.
We found robust arrangements to oversee the constabulary’s national policing responsibilities, and to test its responses.
Areas for improvement
- The constabulary 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.