Sussex PEEL 2014
How well the force tackles crime
Sussex Police is good at reducing crime and preventing offending. The force requires improvement at investigating crime. It is good in tackling anti-social behaviour.
Sussex Police has mature and well-integrated partnerships focused on crime reduction and prevention. The force has completed a detailed assessment of victim vulnerability, allowing it to place victims at the centre of its activity. There have been overall reductions in crime of 3 percent over the past 12 months in Sussex. This is a greater rate of reduction than that for England and Wales. There have been reductions in the levels of anti-social behaviour, and Sussex and its partners use a wide range of powers to police this effectively.
Recently Sussex Police has put more emphasis on effective investigation and is making officers and staff more accountable for the quality of their investigations. The improvement in investigations has been limited by some misunderstanding of priorities among the workforce, insufficient allocation of resources and some examples of officers being responsible for investigations for which they are not trained or accredited.
The force is not investigating offending as effectively as it should be. It identifies victims of crime who are vulnerable, and influential partnerships provide a ready means of support for these individuals. However, those investigating crimes are not always adequately trained or supervised.
Further insights on effectiveness
The domestic abuse inspection found that Sussex was the first force to be awarded White Ribbon status, recognising its campaign to promote awareness of domestic abuse. Although there were some pockets of good practice, there were areas that required substantial improvement in order to provide a consistent service and minimise the risks to victims. The crime inspection found evidence that Sussex has made improvements in how domestic abuse is tackled.
The crime inspection found that Sussex had effective processes in place for dealing with organised crime, including regular meetings that ensured that investigations were progressed. However, there were extensive delays to investigations of more serious crimes due to a lack of capacity within specialist support services to examine telephones and computers.
The inspection on the Strategic Policing Requirement found that Sussex had, or had access to through collaboration with other forces regionally, the necessary capability to tackle terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder, but not a large-scale cyber incident.
How effective is the force at reducing crime and preventing offending?
Sussex Police has carried out an assessment of the threat, risk and harm that it faces. It has clear priorities, although these are not consistently understood and pursued across the workforce.
The force does well at identifying and prioritising those at risk of becoming a victim, although contact with victims is not always made as promptly as it should be.
Sussex Police has good relationships with partners – for instance, the probation trust, which helps it to prevent crime and reduce offending.
How effective is the force at investigating offending?
There has been a reduction in reported crime of 3 percent over the last 12 months in Sussex. This is greater than the overall reduction for England and Wales. Notably, the rate of residential burglary has reduced in Sussex over the past 12 months, and the quality of investigation has been enhanced.
Staff and officers investigating crime in Sussex are not all accredited to the appropriate national standard. In particular, those working in response investigation teams have not been given the training that they need in order to investigate crime effectively.
HMIC found that the service provided by officers responsible for gathering initial evidence required improvement and better supervisory oversight.
Sussex Police does not always take victim personal statements; this means that important issues, such as the trauma that victims have suffered, are not always made available in court proceedings.
There are extensive delays to investigations due to a lack of capacity to examine mobile phones and computers within reasonable time frames.
How effective is the force at tackling anti-social behaviour?
HMIC found that there is good communication with the public and partners; neighbourhood officers are accessible and accountable to local communities. Neighbourhood officers use social media, face-to-face meetings and public forums to understand the needs of communities, and are responsive to their concerns.
HMIC found evidence of dedicated neighbourhood teams prioritising anti-social behaviour and working closely with partners.
Sussex Police has a strong focus on vulnerability. It uses a comprehensive risk assessment process that allows all partners to understand the risk factors associated with individuals.
How effective is the force at protecting those at greatest risk of harm?
The domestic abuse inspection found that Sussex Police was the first force to be awarded White Ribbon status, recognising its campaign to promote awareness of domestic abuse. It also found that responding officers were committed to assessing the risk to victims effectively and taking positive action, although there was limited understanding of the range of safety measures available to manage risk. Although there are some pockets of good practice, there are areas that require substantial improvement in order to provide a consistent service and minimise the risks to victims.
The crime inspection found evidence that Sussex Police has made improvements in how domestic abuse is tackled. A focus on this type of crime has meant tasks are now assigned to neighbourhood policing teams where the likelihood of repeat offending is high. The inspection also reviewed Sussex’s domestic abuse action plan and found that the plan details activity in response to the specific recommendations made for the force by HMIC. The plan develops this further by outlining the joint work between Surrey and Sussex to improve the service to victims of domestic abuse. This work covers many of the areas identified as national priorities.
How effective is the force at tackling serious, organised and complex crime?
Sussex Police had effective ways of dealing with organised crime, including regular meetings that ensured that investigations were progressed, with rigorous monitoring of activity. An example of the force’s effectiveness was Operation Pipeline, an investigation into child sexual exploitation in Brighton, which was making good use of specialist investigators and analysis.
How effective is the force at meeting its commitments under the Strategic Policing Requirement?
The Strategic Policing Requirement inspection found that the chief constable understood his role as specified in the Strategic Policing Requirement. Sussex Police had assessed the scale and nature of the terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder threats, but not that of a large-scale cyber incident. This had enabled the force to identify how much resource it needed to manage and respond to these threats with the exception of a large-scale cyber incident. Public order has a nationally agreed requirement for resources and Sussex is able to provide the necessary agreed amount.
The inspection found that Sussex had, or had access to through collaboration with other forces regionally, the necessary capability to tackle terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder, but not a large-scale cyber incident.
Sussex was able to operate effectively with other police forces and emergency services to respond to public disorder and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents.
In Sussex the inspection found that connectivity with other forces was effective for responding to terrorism, civil emergency, serious organised crime and public disorder, but not large-scale cyber incidents.