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Sussex 2017

Read more about Sussex 2017

This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Sussex Police. 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 Sussex’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

Sussex Police 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; it is judged to require improvement for its use of resources to manage demand; and its planning for future demand is judged to be good.

Sussex Police has a good understanding of demand for its services. The force has carried out demand analysis on specific areas of activity and has expanded its understanding of demand through its work on the local policing model and other change programmes. The force recognises it could do more to improve its understanding of hidden demand, and is taking steps to bring all of its demand analysis together to give it a better overall picture.

The force is improving its understanding of the things that affect demand. Some inefficient processes in the control room may have contributed to a large number of 101 calls being abandoned, but the force is taking action to address this problem. It does not have a single governance process for managing efficiency and relies on its engagement with the workforce to identify inefficient processes and systems. The force has a limited understanding of the skills and capabilities of its workforce, including its leaders, because it has not undertaken a force-wide skills and capabilities audit. This makes it difficult to plan recruitment and training.

The force has allocated resources based on its new local policing model but an unanticipated increase in demand since the model was introduced means the workforce is stretched and the force is struggling to meet demand. Neighbourhood policing, and therefore prevention activity, is being negatively affected by reduced resources. The force is monitoring this closely.

The force works well with other agencies to reduce demand collectively and has strong collaborative arrangements with other police forces and partner organisations. Its collaboration with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service shows early signs of developing into an effective partnership arrangement. The force has a good understanding of the benefits of new technology and is collaborating with Surrey Police on an IT strategy. It is open to innovative ideas and works with external companies, consultants and academics to seek improvements. The force’s plans are realistic and have been subject to external scrutiny and challenge. Financial plans are well integrated with workforce and IT plans. The force aims to achieve its savings targets while investing for the future.

View the three questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 12/12/2017

Sussex Police 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 also good at how well it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. The force requires improvement in some aspects of the way in which it treats its workforce with fairness and respect.

Sussex Police and its workforce are good at treating people with fairness and respect. The workforce understand the importance of using their coercive powers fairly and respectfully. However, they would benefit from more regular training on effective communication skills and as well as force-wide unconscious bias training. The force should continue to ensure all officers and supervisors understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search.

The force needs to enhance internal and external scrutiny of stop and search and use of force to improve how it treats people. The new joint legitimacy board with Surrey Police will provide more comprehensive scrutiny. Independent advisory groups with a diverse membership and a wide range of community groups provide external scrutiny.

Sussex Police is good at ensuring that its workforce behave ethically and lawfully and the Code of Ethics is understood throughout the force. Members of the public who want to make a complaint can find clear information on the force’s website. The force investigates most complaints well, including those that involve discrimination. However, it should improve its compliance with Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) statutory guidance on providing complainants with information and on referring allegations of discrimination to the IPCC, and ensure it provides timely updates to those who are the subject of a complaint.

The force has made significant progress in addressing disproportionality in recruiting and retaining officers and staff.

Sussex Police requires improvement in some aspects of the way in which it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. Although the force has ways for the workforce to provide feedback and challenge, they are not working well. The workforce feel disconnected from senior leaders and are very concerned about managing increased demand for services with fewer resources. The force needs to be more effective at prioritising workforce wellbeing. It also needs to improve how it manages individual performance and development, as well as processes for talent management and temporary promotions.

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

1460 square miles


1.65m people 9% local 10 yr change


76% frontline 78% national level
3 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 0.06 national level
Local 5 year trend (no change) National 5 year trend (no change)


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

Mrs Bourne has confirmed the following four policing and crime objectives, each containing three underpinning aims, for 2017/21 as follows:

Strengthen local policing

  • Ensure local policing services are accessible;
  • Provide effective specialist capabilities to support local policing;
  • Maintain engagement in the delivery of local policing services to improve public confidence.
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Work with local communities and partners to keep Sussex safe

  • Encourage and support local communities to prevent crime and disorder;
  • Work with partners to reduce offending and reoffending;
  • Catch criminals and prevent serious and organised crime and terrorism.

Protect our vulnerable and help victims cope and recover from crime and abuse

  • Commission high-quality services which support victims;
  • Prioritise access to services for vulnerable victims;
  • Enhance our understanding and meet the needs of victims in Sussex.

Improve access to justice for victims and witnesses

  • Ensure victims and witnesses have the most positive experience of the criminal justice system;
  • Support vulnerable victims and witnesses;
  • Maximise the use of technology to improve access to justice for all.