Skip to content

Norfolk PEEL 2018


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

Last updated 02/05/2019

Norfolk Constabulary is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour.

It makes a priority of crime prevention. Its new local policing model should enable designated officers to focus on neighbourhood problems. But it is too early to say how successful this new model will be. The force’s neighbourhood policing strategy aligns with the local police and crime plan.

Norfolk Constabulary needs to improve the way it investigates crime. We reviewed investigation files and found that the force has not effectively supervised all investigations. Specialist departments supervise investigations better than non-specialist departments. Better supervision would ensure that officers and staff work to a consistently good standard. This would help to improve outcomes for victims of crime.

The force is good at protecting vulnerable people. It has a thorough understanding of the ways in which the population it serves is vulnerable. The force seeks out hidden harm and looks for vulnerability from the moment a person contacts the police. It responds promptly to incidents involving vulnerable people.

The force is good at tackling serious and organised crime.

Questions for Effectiveness


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


Norfolk Constabulary prioritises crime prevention. It is putting in place a new model of local policing. One feature of this new model is the removal of all police community support officer (PCSO) posts and the creation of beat managers, who are dedicated to a specific neighbourhood. The control room does not take these officers from their beat unless something exceptional happens. So the beat managers can focus on their neighbourhood. Some officers that are new to neighbourhood policing need further training. The force has this in hand.

The force will evaluate its new model of local policing to make sure it gives a good service to the public. At this stage it is too early to say whether this is an effective approach to local policing. We look forward to seeing how this goes.

Norfolk Constabulary knows what threats it faces and analyses them well to protect the public from crime.

It is the third highest user of police powers against anti-social behaviour in England and Wales.

The force could improve its crime prevention work by adjusting the way it evaluates local policing activity. This would help the force to share what it learns, too.

It works with other agencies, such as the local authority, to manage anti-social behaviour. Norfolk’s early help hubs bring together the police and other agencies to understand and reduce threats, harm and risk to communities.

Detailed findings for question 1


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

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force must ensure that staff with the right skills are investigating crimes thoroughly, leading to satisfactory outcomes for victims. It should review its approach to the provision of investigative training, development and guidance. The force should also consider how a professional lead for investigations would give consistent oversight.
  • The force should improve how it allocates crime, ensuring that investigations are allocated to appropriately trained and supported officers, and that this allocation is appropriately reviewed throughout the investigation.
  • The force should ensure regular and active supervision of the quality and progress of investigations. This supervision should be properly recorded.

Norfolk Constabulary’s investigations are not all of good quality. We found that few investigation plans were logged on the force’s crime system. And some investigation records were only reviewed by a supervisor towards the end. But the force’s specialist departments have a more thorough approach. We also found that lines of enquiry were being missed. This was not being picked up by supervisors. Poor supervision may be reducing the chances of a satisfactory outcome for victims.

Norfolk Constabulary appropriately passes some low-level crimes to a desk-based unit. This reduces pressure on frontline officers and the control room.

The way the force catches and manages offenders is appropriate. The force oversees suspects released on bail or under investigation appropriately. It has a clear process for finding and arresting wanted suspects and discusses them daily. It identifies the suspects posing the highest risk to the public and focuses its efforts on them.

It uses bail legislation effectively. We were pleased to see it has a dedicated team in the custody suite to advise and support staff in this area. The team analyses the force’s use of bail, too.

The force works well with immigration authorities to manage foreign national offenders.

Detailed findings for question 2


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


Norfolk Constabulary has a good understanding of the vulnerable people using its services. It uses a variety of methods to give a better service to them. It looks for hidden harm, such as forced labour. The force looks for vulnerability using a standard assessment tool when people contact it. It uses vulnerability to prioritise its non-emergency calls. Its mental health triage team supports attending officers and call handlers well.

The force’s response to incidents involving vulnerable people is timely and appropriate. It recently improved its service to victims of domestic abuse. It is analysing the effects of this adjustment. Force policies require officers attending domestic abuse incidents to assess the risk to those present. Officers understand this.

The force has higher than average rates of arrests for domestic abuse. So it is pursuing these perpetrators well.

Beat managers safeguard vulnerable victims, particularly where anti-social behaviour is concerned. But we felt the force could make more use of these officers in longer-term safeguarding for domestic abuse victims.

The force has improved since our 2017 effectiveness inspection at using legal powers to protect victims of domestic abuse.

Norfolk Constabulary seeks the views of victims of different crimes to help it improve.

It manages offenders well to reduce the risk they pose to vulnerable people.

Detailed findings for question 3


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


This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2016 effectiveness inspection has been carried over. However, Norfolk Constabulary had two areas for improvement in the 2016 effectiveness inspection.

First, the force needed to further develop its serious and organised crime local profile in conjunction with other organisations. This would enhance its understanding of the threat posed by serious and organised crime and inform joint activity aimed at reducing this threat. Second, it needed to enhance its approach to the lifetime management of organised criminals to limit their offending.

The force has worked hard to develop its ability to tackle serious and organised crime. We found that it had requested a peer review, which was carried out in April 2018 by the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s serious and organised crime programme. The peer review was completed jointly with Suffolk Constabulary as the two forces have a joint serious and organised crime command.

The force has a comprehensive local profile in place. It has experienced difficulties with routinely obtaining data from some partners. However, it has built strong links with a range of organisations and is now consistently using partnership data within its local profile. The force has reviewed its approach to lifetime offender management, working closely with the prisons and probation services and the regional organised crime unit. A regional lifetime offender management meeting is held each month. This meeting identifies individuals who are being released from prison and require lifetime offender management. The force visits them and assigns a local contact. The force is also managing three serious crime prevention orders jointly with Suffolk Constabulary. We are satisfied that the force has suitably addressed these areas for improvement.


How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?


We have previously inspected how well forces provide armed policing. This formed part of our 2016 and 2017 effectiveness inspections. Subsequent terrorist attacks in the UK and Europe have meant that the police service maintains a focus on armed capability in England and Wales.

It is not just terrorist attacks that place operational demands on armed officers. The threat can include the activity of organised crime groups or armed street gangs and all other crime involving guns. The Code of Practice on the Police Use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons (PDF document) makes forces responsible for implementing national standards of armed policing. The code stipulates that a chief officer be designated to oversee these standards. This requires the chief officer to set out the firearms threat in an armed policing strategic threat and risk assessment (APSTRA). The chief officer must also set out clear rationales for the number of armed officers (armed capacity) and the level to which they are trained (armed capability).

Detailed findings for question 5