Suffolk PEEL 2014
How well the force tackles crime
Suffolk Constabulary is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force is good at investigating offending. It is good at tackling anti-social behaviour.
Suffolk Constabulary has seen bigger reductions in crime over the last four years than across England and Wales as a whole. Victim satisfaction with policing services is also higher than the level for England and Wales. The police work well with partners to prevent crime and reduce re-offending.
Neighbourhood policing remains at the heart of the force’s approach and safer neighbourhood teams understand their local community concerns and priorities and use a range of tactics to fight crime and prevent it. There is a focus on identifying and protecting the most vulnerable victims.
HMIC found that there is room for improvement in the way the force investigates offending. There is only a limited focus on monitoring and improving the quality of investigations, and ensuring the continuing development of professional investigative skills of officers. The force also needs to improve the way it evaluates and learns from what works, so that it can better drive improvements in service quality across Suffolk.
Anti-social behaviour is a clear priority for Suffolk; there is strong leadership and good work taking place in the neighbourhood teams to work in partnership with other agencies to prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public in Suffolk could generally have confidence that the police provided a good service to victims of domestic abuse, and, in doing so, helped to keep them safe. However, there were just three independent domestic abuse advisers in the county; this was insufficient to be able to properly support victims of domestic abuse.
The crime inspection found some positive examples of the force working constructively with partners in identifying and developing new techniques for dealing with hidden crimes such as child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. The value for money inspection found that Suffolk had worked with other forces across the eastern region to develop a more effective response to serious and organised crime.
How effective is the force at reducing crime and preventing offending?
Suffolk Constabulary is already a low-crime area and the force has a good track record in reducing crime. Crime has fallen at a faster rate in Suffolk than across England and Wales as a whole over the past four years. The force has seen a relatively large decrease in domestic burglaries on the previous year.
Satisfaction levels among victims with the service from the police are also higher in Suffolk than for England and Wales.
Neighbourhood policing and staying close to communities is at the heart of how Suffolk delivers policing. The joint work of safer neighbourhood teams and local partners to reduce crime and offending is effective and valued. Local officers have a good understanding of local concerns and are able to focus their activity in joining up with partners to tackle local priorities.
There is strong and purposeful partnership working at both a local and a strategic level. HMIC found a particularly strong focus on joint working to identify, protect and support the most vulnerable victims.
How effective is the force at investigating offending?
Suffolk Constabulary has a strong victim focus and is improving the way it identifies and deals with vulnerable victims to ensure that they receive an appropriate service from both police and partners.
The quality of investigation is generally good, but HMIC found that there is a limited focus on improving the quality of investigations or on developing professional investigative skills among officers.
Extensive analysis of crime types and offenders is undertaken, which supports crime fighting, and there is evidence of effective and improving tactics. However, HMIC found limited systematic evaluation of what works, which means that Suffolk is not making the most of opportunities to improve further services for the public.
How effective is the force at tackling anti-social behaviour?
There is a clear and explicit focus on tackling anti-social behaviour with strong leadership within the force. The force continues to invest dedicated resources in anti-social behaviour within the neighbourhood teams through the operational partnership teams, anti-social behaviour officers and in jointly funded posts with partner agencies.
There is a good process in place for safer neighbourhood teams to engage with their communities and understand local concerns and priorities through local priority setting followed by good partnership engagement to secure partner involvement and a coherent response.
HMIC found a high level of awareness of the need to identify vulnerability, assess the risk and provide an enhanced level of service for people considered to be vulnerable.
HMIC found little evidence of any meaningful measurement or evaluation of the effectiveness of the various tactics and activities in preventing and tackling anti-social behaviour.
How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?
The domestic abuse inspection found that the public in Suffolk could generally have confidence that the police provided a good service to victims of domestic abuse, and, in doing so, helped to keep them safe. The inspection found that tackling domestic abuse was a priority for the force, and staff demonstrated a high level of commitment and awareness; they worked well with partners. However, there were just three independent domestic abuse advisers in the county; this was insufficient to be able to properly support victims of domestic abuse.
The crime inspection found evidence that Suffolk Constabulary had prioritised domestic abuse. However, there was no specialist investigation team for domestic abuse cases and the inspection found that there was a slightly fragmented approach to how the victim was contacted. The inspection also reviewed Suffolk’s domestic abuse action plan and found an action plan had been submitted outlining activity that was in line with the agreed national priorities for forces to improve their response to domestic abuse. The HMIC force recommendations were not directly referred to in the plan, but evidence within the action plan was identified to show activity in these areas.
How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?
The crime inspection found some positive examples of the force working constructively with partners in identifying and developing new techniques for dealing with hidden crimes such as child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
The value for money inspection found that Suffolk Constabulary had worked with other forces across the eastern region to develop a more effective response to serious and organised crime. The Eastern Region serious and organised crime unit was set up in 2010.
How effective is the force at meeting its commitments under the Strategic Policing Requirement?
There was no Strategic Policing Requirement inspection for this force.