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Suffolk PEEL 2018

Effectiveness

How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?

Last updated 27/09/2019
Good

Suffolk Constabulary is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour and responds positively to areas for improvement identified by HMICFRS.

It has successfully addressed areas for improvement in how it investigates crime and tackles serious and organised crime and anti-social behaviour that we identified in our 2016 effectiveness inspection.

In our 2019 inspection, we found that complex and serious crime is investigated well by specialist staff, but the force needs to improve how it investigates some less complex crime. It is already working to improve the quality of these investigations but needs to make sure that these are consistently well supervised, and that staff have the skills to consistently conduct high-quality investigations. This will help investigations become of a consistently higher standard and focus on giving victims a satisfactory outcome.

The force is good at protecting vulnerable people. It understands the ways in which the population it serves are vulnerable and seeks out hidden harm and looks for vulnerability from the moment a person contacts the police. It responds promptly to incidents involving vulnerable people and makes good use of powers such as Clare’s Law to protect vulnerable people.

Questions for Effectiveness

1

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

Good

This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2016 effectiveness inspection has been carried over.

2

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

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should review its approach to the provision of training and development for undertaking and supervising investigations within its neighbourhood and response policing teams.
  • The force should ensure that regular and active supervision is put in place consistently and recorded appropriately to monitor the quality and progress of investigations, ensure that crimes are allocated appropriately throughout the course of an investigation and that workloads are manageable.
  • The force needs to take steps to better understand the data relating to its crime outcomes and puts actions in place to ensure that it is effectively pursuing justice on behalf of victims.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Investigation quality

The quality of Suffolk Constabulary’s investigations is not consistent. At the time of our inspection, the force had recognised this. Recently, it introduced an investigative standards improvement board and created a force investigations development plan. Work on delivering this plan was in its early stages. We will continue to monitor the plan, and will try to attend the board, as part of our IPA inspection approach.

The force has a crime management policy. This explains what the force expects of its investigators. However, the force needs to update the policy to reflect recent changes to its local policing structure. The workforce had a mixed level of knowledge and understanding about the policy and wasn’t sure how to use it to progress an investigation well.

Specialist departments, such as the safeguarding units, thoroughly investigate the crimes that are allocated to them. The force holds specialist department staff to account for the quality of their investigations. It does this through regular supervisory discussions and reviews. But the quality of investigations allocated to non-specialist departments is much lower. The records for these investigations include comments by supervisors, but otherwise they don’t seem to be well managed. The force needs to monitor staff in non-specialist departments, so they are working to a consistently good standard and focusing on giving victims a satisfactory outcome.

As part of this inspection, we reviewed 59 files from recent investigations. In 45 of the files, the investigation was effective. But the force had either ineffectively supervised or not recorded any supervision in 23 of the files. Often, supervisors added detailed comments only towards the end of an investigation, before submitting a case for closure.

In most cases, the force had recorded crime investigation plans. However, the plans were often superficial, they didn’t help to progress a case and they didn’t adhere to the guidelines given for documenting them.

The force has a proportionate investigations guidance document, which forms part of the crime management policy. This helps officers to consider what level of investigation is suitable, taking into account the nature and circumstances of an offence. We have some concerns that, in a small number of cases, officers are using this guidance to justify not making all appropriate enquiries. In 18 of the 59 files we reviewed, not all investigative lines of enquiry had been pursued.

The force carries out regular ‘dip sampling’ of investigations. Every inspector and chief inspector must review ten investigations every month. But they weren’t completing these reviews consistently. The force wasn’t overseeing the reviews, investigators weren’t getting feedback, and lessons learned weren’t recorded and shared across the workforce. This process could be used much more effectively in helping to improve the workforce’s overall investigative quality.

In Suffolk Constabulary, there are accredited investigators in 50 percent of its 358 investigator posts. This is the lowest figure of all forces in England and Wales. The force told us that the remaining 178 roles are filled with officers and staff who are working towards the required national accreditation standard. The force has introduced several ways to address this gap, to make sure it has the number of trained investigators it will need in the future.

Since 2017, the force has been running a detective entry programme. Successful applicants can move into detective roles after 20 weeks of classroom-based and patrol training. At the time of our inspection, the force had recruited 27 officers in this way.

The force also has a detective and investigator career pathway. It runs this with Norfolk Constabulary. The pathway is for officers and staff who wish to change jobs within the force and become detectives. However, the force doesn’t give any investigative training or development to the workforce outside detective teams. It needs to review this approach, particularly in relation to neighbourhood and response officers. As they carry out a wide range of crime investigations, they might benefit from such training. Senior leaders could then be sure that staff have the right skills to investigate crimes thoroughly, leading to satisfactory outcomes for victims.

The investigations management unit allocates crimes to supervisors. It follows a standard procedure to make sure that cases go to the right teams. Supervisors, however, don’t receive guidance about how best to review and allocate crimes within their teams once they receive them. Some supervisors found it difficult to know how to reallocate crimes if they felt their team wasn’t the most suitable one to carry out an investigation. And most supervisors, apart from those working in specialist and detective teams, didn’t seem to effectively oversee or manage the crimes that officers were investigating. Sometimes, officers were investigating crimes that weren’t appropriate for their skillset, and they had unmanageably high workloads. In some localities, this situation has been worsened by the force’s recent changes to its local policing structure.

The force should review its approach to both the initial and subsequent allocation of crimes. It must be sure that the most appropriate officers and staff are carrying out investigations. The force needs to make sure that officers and staff carry out investigations in a timely manner. The force also needs to review the training and guidance it gives to supervisors, so that they have the right skills and knowledge to effectively review and oversee investigations.

Historically, the investigations management unit closed all crimes when an investigation had been concluded. However, the force had an area for improvement in our 2016 effectiveness inspection: it needed to reduce the backlog of crimes awaiting closure in the unit. In most cases, supervisors can now complete crime finalisation. The force has given supervisors training and guidance to help them in their decision making when finalising crimes. We are reassured that the force has addressed this area and made satisfactory progress.

The force has a desk-based unit, called the ‘incident and crime management hub’. This unit investigates a range of offences. Call handlers know how to decide whether they should allocate an incident to the hub for investigation. A member of staff from the hub is based in the control room and reviews the incidents allocated to the hub. This staff member also makes sure that there are no immediate safeguarding or vulnerability issues that would require an officer’s attendance.

If an incident is deemed suitable for the hub, then the hub carries out all the elements of the investigation that can be done at a desk. If enquiries need to be made within the community, or a suspect has been identified, then the hub allocates the crime to a neighbourhood officer.

The hub is reducing initial demand on both frontline officers and the control room. Frontline officers were complimentary about the hub’s standard of work. The force is reviewing the hub’s work and considering how to develop the hub further, so that it can help to manage projected increases in the force’s investigation workload in the future.

The workforce doesn’t understand very well the importance of considering prosecutions that may not always be supported by a victim. Safeguarding units have a much better knowledge of this than frontline officers. Initial attending officers use body-worn video (BWV) to record incidents at every opportunity, including incidents involving domestic abuse. However, investigators told us that they have found it challenging to get the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) locally to follow up such cases. Officers told us that they felt the CPS was reluctant to prosecute based on BWV evidence alone, without the victim’s support. The force is addressing this issue through its quarterly domestic abuse scrutiny panel, where it meets with the CPS and other agencies.

The quality and recording of victim contact varied across investigations and departments. In 48 of the 59 files that we reviewed for this inspection, victims received good care. Mostly, the workforce has a good understanding of the requirements of the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. However, this is not always documented properly in investigations. A working group, led by the head of joint justice services across Suffolk Constabulary and Norfolk Constabulary, is looking at how to develop data collection, monitoring and workforce understanding to further improve compliance with the code.

The force had an area for improvement in our effectiveness inspection in 2016 when we last inspected investigation quality: it needed to make sure that it was fully compliant with the code. We are satisfied that this area for improvement has been addressed satisfactorily.

The force has seen an increase in crimes that are finalised where a suspect has been identified but the victim doesn’t support an investigation. In 2016/17, these made up 15.6 percent of all crimes. In 2017/18, this figure had increased to 19 percent. This is higher than the England and Wales rate of 16 percent.

We are particularly concerned that the force has seen a substantial increase in the rate of domestic abuse crimes where a suspect has been identified and the victim supports an investigation but other evidential difficulties result in the crime being finalised. In the six months to September 2018, this was 41 percent higher than in the six months to September 2017. During the same period, there was an increase in domestic abuse crimes, but only by 16 percent.

Suffolk Constabulary’s performance framework and force management statement (FMS) includes analysis of this type of data. However, it is unclear how useful this analysis is in helping the force to improve the outcomes that it gives to victims of crime. Senior leaders didn’t seem to have a clear understanding of this data, the issues raised by it or what needed to happen to make improvements.

Catching criminals

The force has suitable processes in place to pursue and manage offenders. It has a clear procedure for finding and arresting wanted suspects. The force discusses these procedures and agrees actions every morning at local and force meetings.

Recently the force has focused on reducing the number of outstanding wanted suspects who are recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC). There were many outstanding records, although this was partly due to a lack of administrative management rather than suspects still being outstanding. The force has moved some staff temporarily, so that they can complete this work. It has had a reduction of 193 outstanding wanted suspects, and it has 29 percent fewer people recorded as outstanding and wanted on the PNC than it did two years ago.

The force also has processes for managing the number of suspects who are released under investigation and on pre-charge bail. Officers have an application on their mobile terminals that notifies them when suspects are due to return on bail. However, there is no legal requirement for officers to set a return date for suspects released under investigation, and so this is managed inconsistently across the force.

There is also no process for notifying officers when a suspect is due to attend a voluntary interview. Instead, local supervisors have created spreadsheets and documents to help them keep track of this across their teams.

The force has a joint bail management team with Norfolk Constabulary. The team advises the workforce on the effective use of bail legislation. We consider this to be an example of good practice. Being based in the force’s custody suites, the team can give investigators who are dealing with detainees immediate guidance on the appropriate application of bail. However, officers told us that they sometimes felt it was difficult to get custody sergeants to agree to bail conditions, and that there was inconsistency of advice given across the force custody suites.

The force is meant to hold meetings to monitor pre-charge bail and suspects who are released under investigation. However, at the time of our inspection, only one such meeting had taken place.

The joint performance analysis department supplies data showing the use of bail, and suspects who are released under investigation, in each command. The force is working towards breaking down this information, so that local supervisors can review their team’s performance in these areas.

The bail management team carries out monthly dip samples of the use of bail. It also gives feedback to both investigating officers and the force strategic meeting, to make sure that bail is being used effectively. The force is also looking at ways of using this team to help better manage suspects who are released under investigation.

The force works effectively with immigration authorities to manage suspects who are foreign national offenders. Immigration staff are available within custody suites to advise and support investigators. Recently, the force has hired a joint police officer with Norfolk Constabulary to lead on foreign national offender matters. This officer is developing ways to work more closely with partners (such as prisons and the probation service) so that there is a clear understanding of foreign national offender issues. The focus is on effectively managing foreign national offenders so that victims (and potential victims) of crime are safeguarded.

Suffolk Constabulary makes sure that its workforce carries out its disclosure obligations fully, and to a good standard. Its comprehensive training plan includes both online and face-to-face packages. A network of disclosure champions give local advice and guidance. A joint disclosure unit with Norfolk Constabulary reviews case files and gives feedback to investigators to help raise disclosure standards. A joint disclosure improvement board with Norfolk Constabulary meets monthly.

In 2017/18, Suffolk Constabulary had a charge rate of 10.6 percent for all crime. This is slightly higher than the rate across England and Wales of 9.6 percent. The force’s charge rate has decreased since 2016/17 when it was 12.6 percent, although this is in line with the decrease in this rate across England and Wales.

Summary for question 2
3

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

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should review its processes for documenting threat, harm and risk on incident records to ensure that it is able to reassess these for incidents involving vulnerable people where police have been unable to attend, or attendance is delayed, to ensure that any changes to risk are identified and appropriate action is taken in a timely manner.

We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Understanding and identifying vulnerability

Suffolk Constabulary understands the nature and scale of the vulnerability it faces. It effectively analyses data from the police and other organisations to continue to improve the service it gives to vulnerable people.

The force has a vulnerability strategy that uses the College of Policing’s definition of vulnerability. This states that “a person is vulnerable if, as a result of their situation or circumstances, they are unable to take care of or protect themselves or others from harm or exploitation”. Although officers and staff couldn’t articulate this definition, they did understand what vulnerability meant in terms of carrying out their roles. The force is developing a refreshed training package, based on the College of Policing’s vulnerability training. This will be delivered to the workforce during the spring and summer of 2019.

The workforce had differing levels of knowledge and understanding about what constitutes ‘hidden harm’. At the time of our inspection, managers were still explaining a force briefing to their teams on this issue, and on vulnerability more widely. Some officers and staff had completed computer-based training on subjects such as child sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery.

During our inspection, we found good examples of where officers were actively uncovering hidden harm. This included an incident where neighbourhood response officers attended a report of a 17-year-old missing girl. The girl was found to be staying with a man in a hotel. When the officers entered the hotel room, the man ran away from them. Through the officers’ initial assessment and questioning, they quickly identified that the girl was a victim of child sexual or criminal exploitation. The force put immediate and ongoing safeguarding actions in place. This included an intensive care plan with partner agencies.

The force is good at identifying vulnerability at the first point of contact. A new telephone system enables the force to prioritise non-emergency (101) calls based on vulnerability. Control room staff make good use of markers (which are placed on both the incident and crime and intelligence management systems) to identify repeat and vulnerable callers. Call handlers use THRIVE to identify vulnerability and send the most appropriate response to an incident.

Responding to incidents

Suffolk Constabulary responds well to incidents involving vulnerable people. It answers both 999 and 101 calls in a timely way. However, we have some concerns about the force’s ability to reassess risk and prioritise incidents appropriately – both when incidents are waiting to be attended and when attendance is delayed for some reason.

The force has a policy that THRIVE risk assessments shouldn’t be routinely recorded on incident records. The policy was made on the basis that it would help control room staff to both handle calls in a timely manner and send the most appropriate response to calls more quickly. 

The force doesn’t specify a time period to attend incidents that are graded as a priority. (These are incidents where the caller needs to be seen by an officer as soon as possible but the situation isn’t an emergency.) The force also has a separate list of incidents to be dealt with by safer neighbourhood officers. Local supervisors manage this list.

The lack of recording of THRIVE assessments makes it difficult for officers to understand what the threat, harm and risk are for incidents they are attending when they review the incident log. This also makes it difficult for dispatchers and police officers to reassess and identify potential changes to the caller’s threat, harm or risk. It isn’t clear how the force knows which incidents awaiting attendance pose the most harm or risk to vulnerable people at that point in time. It also isn’t clear how the force decides which incident should be attended first.

The force has a well-established mental health triage service. A mental health nurse is based in the control room to assist call handlers and support officers attending incidents where people may have mental health issues. The nurse is on duty from 2.00pm to midnight, seven days a week.

The force also has a mental health triage car, staffed by a police officer and a mental health nurse. It is based in the southern part of the county because of the level of demand there. The car attends incidents where people are in mental health crisis. Officers spoke very highly of the mental health triage service. They felt that it considerably reduced demand and gave them useful information and support to deal more effectively with incidents involving mental health. A review of the service’s effectiveness has been carried out, and funding with partner agencies continues to be allocated to keep this service for the future.

Officers use DASH when they attend domestic abuse incidents. ‘DASH’ is a method of risk assessment and stands for ‘domestic abuse, stalking and harassment’. UK police forces and other organisations adopted the method in 2009. The aim of DASH is to help frontline officers identify high-risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and so-called ‘honour-based violence’.

According to the force’s policy, DASH forms only need to be completed for current or previous intimate relationships, or at the professional assessment of the attending officer. In our 2017 effectiveness inspection, we highlighted an area for improvement: the force needed to review its processes for completing DASH risk assessments to make sure they were all carried out in person, and at the time of initial officer attendance.

The force has made sure that this is now happening. Domestic abuse crimes are no longer routinely allocated to the desk-based investigation team. There are regular dip samples of DASH completion. Each of the three local policing areas now has a domestic abuse scrutiny board, where DASH completion and initial attendance are one of the subjects of discussion. Officers we spoke to have a clear understanding of the need to complete DASH assessments in person at the time of attending an incident. Officers also knew how to submit other referrals (such as those for child or adult safeguarding concerns). We are reassured that the force has addressed this area for improvement and made satisfactory changes.

Suffolk Constabulary has a voluntary attendance rate for domestic abuse suspects of 6.1 percent. This is lower than the England and Wales rate of 9.3 percent. ‘Voluntary attendance’ means that a suspect isn’t arrested at the time of an offence. Instead, they agree to visit a police station voluntarily for an interview about the offence committed. (Grounds for an arrest to be necessary are detailed in section 24(5) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 [PACE]. Voluntary attendance legislation is detailed in section 29 of PACE.)

In the year to September 2018, the force had an arrest rate of 40.3 percent for all domestic abuse crimes. This was higher than the England and Wales rate of 31.9 percent.

The force has a policy that when officers attend a domestic abuse incident they will take positive action and investigations will be victim-focused, rather than victim-led. This means that even if the victim does not want the perpetrator to be arrested, this will still take place if it is what is needed. The force’s rate of offenders who were charged or summonsed for domestic abuse crimes in 2017/18 was 13.5 percent. This means that the force is pursuing perpetrators of domestic abuse well.

Supporting vulnerable victims

Neighbourhood officers are involved in safeguarding vulnerable victims. Each local policing area holds a monthly meeting, known as ‘Operation Comfort’, where domestic abuse cases are discussed. The force allocates neighbourhood officers to cases, both in terms of safeguarding victims and effectively pursuing offenders. The force’s independent domestic violence advocates attend these meetings. They can give guidance to the neighbourhood officers about ongoing safeguarding support. The force includes information about high-risk domestic abuse cases in its daily briefings. It also discusses them at its daily tasking meetings.

Suffolk Constabulary makes good use of domestic violence protection notices and orders (DVPNs and DVPOs), as well as Clare’s Law. Recently, the force has applied for an increased number of DVPNs and DVPOs, from 39 in 2016/17 to 89 in 2017/18.

The workforce has a varying knowledge of these powers. However, officers and staff who work in teams such as the custody investigation unit and the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH), and who are more likely to use these powers, have a very good understanding of them. Officers and staff applied these powers whenever appropriate.

Applications and disclosures under Clare’s Law are managed well. The force has the highest number of ‘right to know’ applications per 1,000 population across all forces in England and Wales. There were minimal backlogs and, generally, disclosures were given within ten days. A detective inspector makes the final decision about whether to make a disclosure, based on all the information gathered from the police and partners.

The force has arranged to work with other organisations in the same MASH office or location. The workforce has a good understanding of the MASH’s role. All new recruits receive training about the work that MASH does. During office hours, the workforce can call a MASH hotline for immediate advice when attending incidents. Officers told us that the hotline was extremely helpful to them in terms of initial decision making and safeguarding considerations. MASH staff also felt that their ability to advise at the earliest opportunity had led to a reduction in unnecessary referrals. We consider this to be an example of good practice.

The force carries out a range of surveys across crime types to understand the views of victims, including those who are vulnerable. A victim survey co-ordinator works in the MASH to help survey victims of domestic abuse. At the time of our inspection, the force had only had the chance to carry out one set of surveys, and so only had a small sample of responses. It will carry out further surveys before looking at how to adapt and improve its services.

Every fortnight, the force holds multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) within each of its three local policing areas. At these meetings, the force discusses all high-risk domestic abuse cases with partner agencies (such as children’s services and local authorities). The domestic abuse teams secondary risk assess all medium- and high-risk domestic abuse cases to make sure that the grading is accurate and the level of safeguarding appropriate. The force has carried out a trial of a daily MARAC process. At the time of our inspection, it was looking to introduce this permanently. The force is also at the early stages of considering the use of multi-agency tasking and co-ordination conferences to provide a better response with partners to managing offenders.

The force has a scheme for perpetrators of domestic abuse to educate them and reduce the risk of them re-offending. The first course has just been completed and is being evaluated and academically reviewed. A second group of perpetrators will be starting the scheme.

Suffolk Constabulary faces some challenges in its effective management of offenders who pose a risk to vulnerable people. At the time of our inspection, the force was in the final stages of both recruiting staff for the public protection unit and removing all police officer roles within this unit. The force had made this decision in order to professionalise the skills of the unit and keep the workforce within it for longer.

Staff within the public protection unit were managing an average of 75 offenders. However, the force told us that the recruitment process would reduce this figure to an average of 55 offenders by mid-2019. This is a more practicable number, based on the varying levels of risk being managed.

The force had a backlog of 243 offenders who were awaiting risk assessment. Of this number, 127 needed to be assessed by the probation service. The remaining 116 were all low-risk offenders, and the force had a schedule to complete their assessments. The force is working with the probation service to help manage its backlog effectively. We will continue to monitor this as part of our IPA inspection approach.

Staff in the public protection unit consider the use of ancillary powers, such as sexual harm prevention orders (SHPOs) and sexual risk orders. In 2017/18, the force issued 113 SHPOs, with 22 recorded breaches.

The daily force briefing system gives information about high-risk registered sex offenders (RSOs) and other people of concern. Safer neighbourhood and neighbourhood response officers can also access information about RSOs within their area and submit information through the crime and intelligence management system. Local officers didn’t have a detailed knowledge of RSOs in their area. However, they felt that they received appropriate information and could access it when needed.

The force routinely monitors the child protection system within the intelligence unit that it runs jointly with Norfolk Constabulary. Officers and staff were using this system regularly. They were also identifying potential online child abuse cases in a timely manner. The officer who monitors the system prepares intelligence packs about each case and sends them to the force’s online investigations team to investigate and manage cases appropriately. Officers and staff within this team had high workloads, but felt they had sufficient training, support and supervision to do their work effectively.

Summary for question 3
4

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

Good

This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2016 effectiveness inspection has been carried over.

5

How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?

Ungraded

Understanding the threat and responding to it

Suffolk Constabulary has a joint arrangement with Norfolk Constabulary for armed policing. This means that the standards of training, armed deployments and command of armed operations are assured in both forces.

The force has a good understanding of the potential harm facing the public. Its APSTRA conforms to the requirements of the code and the College of Policing guidance. The APSTRA is published annually and accompanied by a register of risks and other observations. The designated chief officer reviews the register frequently to maintain the right levels of armed capability and capacity.

All armed officers in England and Wales are trained to national standards. There are different standards for each role that armed officers perform. Officers trained to an armed response vehicle (ARV) standard attend most armed incidents in Suffolk. But some incidents require the skills and specialist capabilities of officers who are more highly trained.

On a joint basis, Suffolk and Norfolk constabularies have the capability to deploy specialist officers should they be needed. We have some concerns about the sustainability of these arrangements, however.

Working with others

It is important that effective joint working arrangements exist between neighbouring forces. Armed criminals and terrorists have no respect for county boundaries. As a consequence, armed officers must be prepared to deploy flexibly in the knowledge that they can work seamlessly with officers in other forces. It is also important that any one force can call on support from surrounding forces in times of heightened threat. 

The joint working arrangements in place between Suffolk and Norfolk constabularies mean that ARVs respond efficiently and rapidly to armed incidents. But we have concerns about the availability of specialist capabilities. They are rarely needed in Suffolk and Norfolk – but we did hear of occasions when they were needed but not immediately available. On these occasions, a neighbouring force provided specialist officers.

It is encouraging that agreements are in place for forces in the east of England to support each other with specialist capabilities when required. But because of the low level of risk, and the high level of training and other overheads associated with specialist officers, we believe there is a better way for the force to provide specialist capabilities. We recommend Suffolk and Norfolk constabularies to work with other forces in the east of England to develop a regional specialist capability. As well as reducing costs, this is more likely to guarantee the availability of specialist officers in line with the threats set out in the APSTRA.

We also examined how prepared forces are to respond to threats and risks. Armed officers in Suffolk are trained in tactics that take account of the types of recent terrorist attacks. Suffolk Constabulary has an important role also in designing training exercises with other organisations that simulate these types of attack. We found that these training exercises are reviewed carefully, so that learning points are recorded and improvements made for the future.

We found that Suffolk Constabulary could improve its procedures to brief armed officers and learn from the incidents they attend. Officers would benefit from better intelligence about armed criminals and other relevant information when they begin their shifts. Similarly, although the force regularly debriefs incidents that armed officers attend, suggestions of how things could be done better are not always followed up.

The force should review its operational briefing and debriefing procedures. This will help ensure that no opportunity is missed to deploy armed officers effectively and make operational improvements.

Summary for question 5