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HMICFRS is consulting on our proposed policing and fire & rescue services inspection programmes

Please give us your views on these programmes by 5pm on Monday 19 February 2018.

Suffolk 2017

Read more about Suffolk 2017

This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Suffolk 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 force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is not yet graded.

The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

The efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below.

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Zoë Billingham

HMI's observations

My overall assessment of Suffolk’s performance will be published in spring 2018, following the publication of the effectiveness inspections in March 2018.


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

To be graded
View the five questions for effectiveness


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

Last updated 09/11/2017

Suffolk Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.

Suffolk Constabulary has a good understanding of the current and likely future demand for its services that is based on research and analysis. The force analyses data from other public organisations, such as local councils, health services and the fire service. The joint performance and analysis department with Norfolk Constabulary does high-quality, innovative work, supported by robust academic research and scrutiny. The force has a good understanding of more complex and hidden demands (such as modern slavery and so-called honour-based violence) and has analysed demand that can be prevented or responded to by a more appropriate agency.

The force is largely effective in how it manages demand, using an assessment known as THRIVE to determine its response to incidents or calls for service. It recognises the implementation of several new systems over the last two years has increased internal demand and so it is recruiting extra staff into its incident crime management hub. It is also engaging a consultant to ensure the HR system is used to best effect. In addition the force has recognised that the way officers and staff record and allocate crimes is causing delays in investigation, so it is using officers on overtime to help ensure investigations progress more quickly while it recruits additional staff to resolve the problem.

Suffolk Constabulary has impressive joint working practices with other police forces and external organisations to help save money and improve the services it provides. For example, it has collaborated with Norfolk Constabulary on a revised ICT strategy and is sharing a number of premises with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service. The force has a culture of innovation and continuous improvement and encourages its workforce to suggest new ideas.

The force has developed its understanding of the current skills possessed by the workforce and has collated the operational skills of its officers, which are now stored and monitored centrally. However, it needs to do more to understand fully the range of skills that it will require for the future and its current and future leadership capabilities.

Suffolk Constabulary has a good record of making necessary savings through innovation and evidence-based decisions. It engaged external consultants to help develop a new approach to allocating money internally, called outcome-based budgeting, which gives it a better understanding of how it uses its resources and what is achieved as a result. Its plans for the future appear to be realistic and achievable, although it realises that making the required savings will be difficult.

View the three questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 12/12/2017

Suffolk Constabulary is good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.

Suffolk Constabulary continues to demonstrate that it treats the people it serves with fairness and respect. Members of the workforce understand the force’s vision and values and receive the training they need, which is also reinforced with internal communications. The force monitors the use of its coercive powers and ensures any learning from this is used to improve workforce training. Effective external scrutiny is provided through public meetings and independent advisory groups. The force is introducing body-worn video cameras for frontline officers, which will enable further scrutiny.

The force is good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and its policies are based on the Code of Ethics. However, the force needs to do more to ensure that it complies fully with current national vetting standards.

Suffolk Constabulary provides comprehensive information about how to make a complaint, both on its web page and in force buildings. . It also has a network of community contact links which helps the force to reach communities that may have less trust and confidence in the police. The force reviews all public complaints and internal misconduct investigations to ensure it learns from its mistakes. The force’s joint professional standards department with Norfolk Constabulary undertakes satisfactory investigations in cases involving alleged discrimination. However, it needs to ensure it identifies all allegations involving discrimination, it updates complainants and those who are the subject of allegations in a timely manner (in line with its legal requirements) and that updates contain sufficient information on the progress of the investigation.

Officers and staff told us that there is a positive organisational culture in which leaders are receptive to feedback and the workforce are encouraged and feel confident in expressing their views. The force is continuing to improve the range of workforce wellbeing services it provides. It is making progress in increasing the diversity of its workforce so that it better reflects the communities it serves. The workforce consider selection and promotion processes to be fair and free of bias. However, the force needs to improve the way individual performance assessment is used and ensure that officers and staff recognise the value of this.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

How well has the force performed in our other inspections?

In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS 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.

Key facts

Force Area

1467 square miles


0.74m people 8% local 10 yr change


76% frontline 78% national level
2.9 per 1000 population 3.6 national level
11% change in local workforce since 2010 15% national change since 2010

Victim-based crimes

0.05 per person 0.06 national level
Local 5 year trend (no change) National 5 year trend (no change)


44p per person per day local 55p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • Suffolk is a small force in terms of officer numbers but is still making savings while policing a growing and ageing population.
  • The force polices extensive rural and coastal areas as well as vibrant urban centres while responding to changing demands for services.

Police and crime plan priorities

The Police and Crime Commissioner has stated a number of objectives as part of the Police and Crime Plan for 2017-21. These are underpinned by a series of measures and specific activities.

The objectives are:

Read More
  • Objective 1: Responding to calls for urgent assistance.
  • Objective 2: Caring about victims, communities, the local economy and our workforce.
  • Objective 3: Protecting vulnerable people and communities by preventing, reducing and solving crime and reducing anti-social behaviour.
  • Objective 4 – Delivering efficient and effective service with the right resources.

Should you want more information, the full list of objectives and activities is available on the police and crime commissioner’s website.