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Norfolk PEEL 2018


How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?

Last updated 02/05/2019

Norfolk Constabulary is good at treating the public fairly.

The workforce has an ethical culture at all levels. It has a culture of learning not blame. But the force’s counter-corruption unit is limited in its ability to pursue corruption proactively. A new IT monitoring system intended to protect the force’s data may put further pressure on this unit.

Norfolk Constabulary is good at treating the workforce fairly.

Questions for Legitimacy


To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?


This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 legitimacy inspection has been carried over. However, we reviewed a representative sample of 158 stop and search records to assess the reasonableness of the recorded grounds. We found that 88 percent had reasonable grounds recorded. Our assessment is based on the grounds recorded on the record by the searching officer and not the grounds that existed at the time of the search.

In our 2017 legitimacy report, we recommended that all forces should:

  • monitor and analyse comprehensive stop and search data to understand reasons for disparities;
  • take action on those; and
  • publish the analysis and the action by July 2018.

We found that the force has complied with some of this recommendation. But it doesn’t identify the extent to which find rates differ between people from different ethnicities and between different types of searches (including separate identification of find rates for drug possession and supply-type offences). It also isn’t clear that the force monitors enough data to identify the prevalence of possession-only drug searches or the extent to which these align with local or force-level priorities.

We reviewed the force’s website and were unable to find the force’s analysis to understand reasons for disparities or an explanation of subsequent action taken.

We will continue to monitor progress in this area.


How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?


Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure its counter corruption unit has the capability and capacity to be effective in its proactive approach to counter corruption – and has full information technology (IT) monitoring to effectively protect the information contained within its systems.

Norfolk Constabulary has an ethical culture. Leaders and the workforce understand the professional Code of Ethics that governs policing.

The force meets its obligations under the new vetting code of practice. It provides the College of Policing with the details of former officers and staff who it has dismissed. This prevents such people from working in law enforcement. But the force has a vetting backlog. It has taken steps to reduce the risk this entails. It will increase staffing to clear the backlog.

In our 2017 legitimacy report we recommended the force improve the quality and timeliness of its updates to complainants. It has done this.

Norfolk and Suffolk share an effective counter-corruption assessment and control strategy. Norfolk Constabulary intervenes early to support members of its workforce vulnerable to corruption. But it doesn’t evaluate the results of such interventions to find out if they work.

The force’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) is limited in capacity and capability. It manages the information it receives effectively. But it does not always record it in a way that allows it to compare the data with national data.

The force is testing software to monitor its ICT systems in real time. This could increase the ACU’s workload. The force is watching this issue closely to ensure that workforce levels are sufficient to deal with this.

Detailed findings for question 2


To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?


This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 legitimacy inspection has been carried over. However, Norfolk Constabulary had two areas for improvement in the 2017 legitimacy inspection.

Areas for improvement

  • The force needs to ensure that selection and promotion processes are open and fair, and are perceived to be so by the workforce.
  • The force needs to ensure that the staff performance assessment framework is applied consistently and fairly across the entire organisation and that staff consider it valuable in supporting their development.

The force introduced a new PDR process for the 2018/19 performance year. During fieldwork, we found that this was still being put in place. But we found that the workforce understands that the PDR process is fundamental to identifying, documenting and supporting their development. We found also that it was being used to discuss promotion and development opportunities with line managers. Selection and promotion processes, as well as succession and workforce planning, are all clearly linked to the PDR process. We are satisfied that the force has suitably addressed these areas for improvement.