Norfolk 2015Read more about Norfolk
This is HMIC’s second assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy with which Norfolk Constabulary keeps people safe and reduces crime. PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) gives you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas. It does this in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year-on-year.
The extent to which Norfolk Constabulary is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which Norfolk Constabulary is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is outstanding.
The extent to which Norfolk Constabulary is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
This year, for the first time, we have assessed leadership across the force. The assessment has led to a narrative rather than graded judgment, which is summarised below.
Read more about my assessment of Norfolk Constabulary’s performance this year, including where I would like to see improvements next year.
I would like to congratulate Norfolk Constabulary on its excellent performance this year and keeping the people of Norfolk safe and reducing crime.
I have continued to be very impressed by the force’s commitment to neighbourhood policing which lies at the heart of its approach to preventing crime, anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. The force has protected its local neighbourhood teams, which work extremely well with partners (including local councils) to keep communities safe.
I am pleased that the force has an outstanding approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. I am particularly impressed that despite the financial challenges, the force has invested in those areas supporting the most vulnerable victims. Together with partners, Norfolk Constabulalry responds well to missing and absent children and victims of domestic abuse, and continues to develop its approach to tackling child sexual exploitation.
I commend the force for its outstanding performance in reducing its costs whilst maintaining the service it provides to the public. It continues to plan for the long term and together with Suffolk Constabulary has joined with academic institutions to carefully review how it provides services to ensure it represents value for money.
The force is very well led with an ethos of protecting the most vulnerable members of the community. It has developed and maintains an ethical culture. The workforce understand the importance of giving careful consideration to ethical issues in the decisions they make to protect the public.
Description of force area
Norfolk Constabulary provides policing services to the county of Norfolk. Although there are some highly affluent areas, Norfolk has a high level of poverty. Around 0.9 million people live in a predominantly rural setting. Its distinct and generally small urban areas include the city of Norwich, as well as the towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn. The resident population is increased by university students and the large numbers who visit, socialise in, or travel through the county each year. The transport infrastructure includes an airport and sea ports.
The proportion of areas in Norfolk that are predicted to present a very high challenge to the police is broadly in line with the national average. These are characterised by social deprivation or a concentration of commercial premises (including licensed premises), and in some cases both.
The force’s mature and successful collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary saves money and provides greater resilience in how specialist operational and support services are provided.
In our effectiveness inspection, we judged Norfolk Constabulary to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force is outstanding in the way it prevents crime and anti-social behaviour, with impressive recent reductions in anti-social behaviour across the county. Vulnerable victims are well-supported and the force works well with partner organisations to investigate crime and manage offenders, including those involved in serious and organised crime. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.
Norfolk Constabulary is exceptionally well-placed to face its future financial challenges. The force has an excellent track record of achieving savings and has balanced the budget to date. It is making prudent assumptions for further reductions in spending through to 2019/20 with well-developed plans to achieve a large proportion of the savings. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the previous spending review period, Norfolk was also judged to be outstanding.
The force prioritises the development of an ethical culture within the organisation based on the Code of Ethics, which defines the standards of behaviour for everyone who works in policing. The force positively promotes the wellbeing of the workforce. Officers and staff in Norfolk Constabulary treat members of the public with fairness and respect, engaging and communicating well with the people they serve. The force complies with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and uses Taser both fairly and appropriately.
This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.
Norfolk Constabulary is very well led and benefits from stability at chief officer level. The force has communicated a clear sense of its future direction which is well-understood and supported by the workforce. The chief officer team is visible and engages regularly with frontline officers and staff.
The force would benefit from having a consistent process to identify and develop talented individuals towards promotion.
Insights from other inspections
HMIC undertakes other inspections in addition to the PEEL programme. Since the last PEEL assessment there have been three reports published on inspections that included Norfolk Constabulary. More detail on some of these inspections can be found under the Other inspections section.
Looking ahead to PEEL 2016
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how the force responds to this assessment, and to the areas for improvement that HMIC has identified in the last year.
I will be particularly interested to see how the force further develops its collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary and wider partners; and, in doing so, how it continues to improve the services it provides to the public of Norfolk.
In May 2016, like the majority of forces in England and Wales, the force will see the second elections for its police and crime commissioner.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Overall HMIC judges Norfolk Constabulary to be good at reducing crime and keeping people safe.
The constabulary is outstanding in the way it prevents crime and anti-social behaviour, with impressive recent reductions in anti-social behaviour across the county. Vulnerable victims are well-supported and the constabulary works well with partner organisations to investigate crime and manage offenders, including those involved in serious and organised crime. This is the first year HMIC has graded forces on their overall effectiveness so comparison of their year-on-year effectiveness is not possible.
The constabulary has a very strong focus on crime and anti-social behaviour prevention. It has directed significant resources to preventative work. The constabulary is actively involved in an impressive range of joint working arrangements, projects and initiatives to identify local priorities and community concerns and to make best use of police and partner organisations’ joint resources to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
The constabulary is focused on identifying and supporting vulnerable victims and has invested heavily in this area. It responds well to victims of domestic abuse and missing children and continues to develop its approach to tackling child sexual exploitation.
It investigates crimes effectively, ensuring it has the right people with the right skills to fight crime and bring offenders to justice. The constabulary is focused on diverting offenders away from crime and we saw excellent examples of partnership working to this end. Norfolk has a good understanding of serious and organised crime and is working well to tackle this. The leadership has strong oversight of the constabulary’s ability to respond to national threats, such as serious cyber-crime incidents and child sexual abuse. Its own arrangements for ensuring it can meet its national obligations in this regard (such as planning, testing and exercising) are effective.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found that Norfolk Constabulary is exceptionally well-placed to face its future financial challenges. The force has an excellent track record of achieving savings and has balanced the budget to date. It is making prudent assumptions for further reductions in spending through to 2019/20 with well developed plans to achieve a large proportion of the savings. In last year’s value for money inspection, which considered how forces had met the challenge of the first spending review period, Norfolk was also judged to be outstanding.
HMIC judges Norfolk Constabulary to be outstanding. The constabulary has a good understanding of demand and uses a range of techniques to understand and quantify demand. It has used these techniques to identify where it can better manage and reduce areas of unnecessary demand, so that reducing resources can be better focused on protecting people from harm.
Norfolk Constabulary has a strong track record in innovation and continuous improvement. The constabulary works well in collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary, and has been able not only to save money but also to provide greater resilience by joining forces to provide specialist services. HMIC found that the constabulary is working well with other organisations to deliver services more efficiently.
Performance is well managed and remains strong. The overall levels of crime remain lower than in similar forces and public satisfaction with police services in Norfolk is higher than the national average. This is despite a reduction of over £25.3m in the constabulary’s budget.
The workforce model is sustainable and affordable in the medium term. However, Norfolk Constabulary recognises that it will need to implement new ways of working in the longer term to manage demand and ensure the model is sustainable as cuts in spending continue.
The constabulary has an excellent track record of delivering change, which has achieved a balanced budget since the start of the last spending review. The approach to reducing spending has been robustly managed and resulted in savings accruing ahead of time. The constabulary is planning to use reserves to invest in change and provide time for more efficient ways of working to be realised. Norfolk has developed financial plans to 2019/20 based on prudent assumptions and has provided well developed plans that it assesses will achieve £17m of the £26.4m it is expecting to need to save.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
The constabulary makes it a priority to develop an ethical culture within the organisation based on the Code of Ethics which defines the standards of behaviour for everyone who works in policing. It promotes in a positive way the wellbeing of staff. Staff in Norfolk Constabulary treat members of the public with fairness and respect, engage and communicate well with the people they serve. The constabulary complies with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and uses Taser both fairly and appropriately.
This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.
Norfolk Constabulary makes it a priority to develop and maintain an ethical culture. The constabulary promotes the wellbeing of staff in a positive way, raising awareness of wellbeing to managers and provides comprehensive occupational health support.
The Code of Ethics is an important part of the way it conducted its business and the majority of staff have knowledge of the code. The constabulary’s complaint and misconduct files that were examined by HMIC showed consistent and fair decision-making.
When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and successfully engages with all the people it serves, Norfolk Constabulary undertakes extensive consultation to engage with and understand the views of different communities. As a result, the constabulary responds positively to community concerns at a senior and local level and fully understands the importance of effective engagement with those they serve.
Stop and search and Taser are two ways that the police can prevent crime and protect the public. However, they can be intrusive and forceful methods, and it is therefore vital the police use them fairly and appropriately.
The constabulary complies with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, introduced to achieve greater transparency and community involvement in the police use of stop and search powers. The constabulary should make sure that stop and search records include sufficient reasonable grounds to justify the lawful use of the power, and that officers fully understand the grounds required to stop and search. Taser is used fairly and appropriately
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; 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.
As part of HMIC’s annual all-force inspections into police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) in 2015, HMIC assessed how well led forces are at every rank and grade of the organisation and across all areas inspected in PEEL. We reviewed how well a force understands and is developing its leaders; whether it has set a clear and compelling future direction; and how well it motivates and engages the workforce.
Norfolk Constabulary is well led and benefits from stability at chief officer level. The constabulary has communicated a clear sense of its future direction which is well-understood and supported by the workforce. The chief officer team is visible and engages regularly with frontline officers and staff.
The constabulary does not have a consistent talent management process but relies on individual managers’ interpretation. The consequent inconsistency in the completion of annual performance review appraisals does not help the constabulary to identify talented members of its workforce.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Norfolk Constabulary.