More about this area

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The force says...

Norfolk is the fifth largest county in England, a land area of 2,074 square miles and a 93-mile coastline. In mid-2015 Norfolk’s estimated population was 885,000 attracting a further estimated 4.7 million visitors annually, with 54 crimes per 1,000 people which is below the national average crime rate of 68 per 1,000 population.

Although predominantly rural, 40% of the population live in the urban areas of Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Thetford, parts of which are within the top 10% of deprived areas nationally. Policing this landscape poses challenges to manage the differing risks and vulnerabilities.

Norfolk has a two-tier local authority structure comprising of county and district councils. The constabulary is heavily engaged with Norfolk County Council’s restructuring plans, working closely with partners, to prevent and reduce harm to our communities.

The constabulary received 358,000 calls in 2015/16 recording a total of 47,400 crimes; a drop of 25% in recorded crime over the last decade despite only a 7.5% decrease in calls received.

The constabulary has increased focus on areas of threat, harm and risk, increasing the reporting of domestic abuse crimes by 43% from 4,134 crimes in 2013/14 to 5,900 in 2015/16 and has seen increased reporting of serious sexual offences, 75% over the previous two years; a trend seen nationally due to a combination of high-profile cases and increased confidence in reporting to the police.

Norfolk Constabulary has a workforce of 1,470 officers, 150 police community support officers, 1,031 staff and 228 special constables.

Since 2010, Norfolk Constabulary will have made savings of nearly £30m by the end of 2016/17. The constabulary collaborates extensively, particularly with Suffolk Constabulary, but also other partners including Norfolk Fire and Rescue Services. Many services are now provided by collaborated units, which in itself has delivered £15m of the £30m overall savings.

Disclaimer: the above statement has been prepared by Norfolk Constabulary. The views and information in it are not necessarily those of HMICFRS.

HMIC says...

Norfolk Constabulary provides policing services to the county of Norfolk. The police force area covers 2,077 square miles with approximately 100 miles of coastline in East Anglia. 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.

England and Wales is made up of over 181,000 small areas known as census output areas (OAs). These have been defined by the Office for National Statistics to group together people with similar characteristics and to include, on average, 125 households. The size of the geographical area covered by each OA varies according to the population density in different parts of the country. The largest OA in England and Wales covers 20,166 hectares, and the smallest less than 0.02 hectares. A football pitch is approximately 0.75 of a hectare.

There are 2,931 OAs in Norfolk with an average size of 183 hectares which is much bigger than the national average of 87 hectares. While two fifths (43 percent) of OAs in Norfolk are relatively small at under 10 hectares, a sizable proportion (27 percent) are extremely large in size (over 100 hectares) indicating the mixture of urban and rural localities. The smallest OAs are concentrated in Norwich and the numerous towns in Norfolk with the largest spread across the extensive more sparsely populated rural areas.

The advantage of analysis at output area level is that it supports a people-centred approach. Differences in the socio-economic characteristics of people who live in different OAs lead to different behaviours, including the use of public services. These differences are reflected in the information that is collected in large data sets such as the census, the Ordnance Survey (OS) point of interest data and other quasi-economic sources that have been used in this analysis.

HMIC has been working with the London School of Economics to use econometric techniques to statistically model and predict the level of reactive demands for police services in each OA in England and Wales. Using police incident data and several thousand characteristics (variables) drawn from the census data, OS point of interest data and other smaller data sets for each OA, it has been possible to predict the number of incidents for each OA and determine how challenging each OA is likely to be to police. We have also used the house prices from the Land Registry as a proxy indicator of wealth. Norfolk has a median house price, based on the OAs that have had a property transaction within the last 12 months, of £207,645 which is lower than the median of England and Wales (£230,358). Norfolk has 2.3 percent of its OAs within the lowest 10 percent of house prices nationally, while 10.8 percent of OAs are within the top 10 percent of house prices nationally (and 2.2 percent of OAs are within the top 1 percent). This suggests that there are areas of affluence and high house price, with a small proportion of lower value housing and deprivation.

The demands for police services are not the same in every area of England and Wales. Our analysis has revealed that the socio-demographic characteristics of an area influence the demands for police services in that area.

In every police force, there is a concentration of predicted demands in a small number of its OAs. Taking England and Wales as a whole the most challenging 1,811 (1 percent) of these account for 10.8 percent of all the predicted incidents. We have designated these areas of very high challenge and found that they are characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising or travelling in the area. Features which both cause and/or indicated a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises, fast food premises, public transport and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are in combination.

Some 1.0 percent of the very high challenge areas nationally are in Norfolk. The highest-challenge one percent of OAs in the force account for 6.3 percent of Norfolk’s predicted incidents, these predicted demands are likely to occur in only 0.1 percent of the total area of the force.

Within Norfolk:

  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of incidents is lower than the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of crime is lower than the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are a very high challenge to police based on the predicted level of anti-social behaviour is broadly in line with the national level of one percent;
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at incidents is lower than the national level of one percent; and
  • the proportion of OAs that are very high challenge to police for the predicted level of emergency and priority calls for assistance at crimes is lower than the national level of one percent.

As an indication of the challenge for the police to reach citizens in all parts of Norfolk we calculated the average travel time and distance from the central point of the force area to the centre of each of the 2,931 OAs. These calculations of distance and time are based on using the road network under normal driving conditions and speeds, and indicate the size of the area and the quality of its road network.

Norfolk has 114 miles trunk roads and the average travel distance of 19 miles (longest 48 miles and shortest 0.2 miles) from the centre of the force to each OA is higher than the national averages of 17 miles. However, the average travel time of 26 minutes is lower than the national average of 30 minutes. This demonstrates the size and complexity of Norfolk and the nature of its roads.

While the concentration of demands in a small number of locations (covering a very small area) may be helpful in focusing resources, it is not the totality of demand. The provision of services extends beyond those areas that are a very high challenge to police and includes the least challenging and most remote areas. The challenge of providing services throughout Norfolk is a function of many things including the size and topography of the area, the road network and how congested the roads are. These considerations influence how police resources are organised and managed – for example, where police officers are based and their working patterns.