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Suffolk 2018/19

Read more about Suffolk

This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Suffolk Constabulary. PEEL is designed to give you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year.

Suffolk Constabulary was inspected in tranche two and we found:

the extent to which the force is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe is good.

the extent to which the force operates efficiently and sustainably is good.

the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.

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PEEL: Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy 2018/19 – Suffolk Constabulary

Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary


HMI's observations

I am satisfied with most aspects of the performance of Suffolk Constabulary, but the force needs to improve some aspects of how it plans for the future.

The force prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour well. It works closely with partners to ensure that it safeguards victims. But it needs to improve the way it investigates crime through better training and more effective supervision.

The force operates efficiently, but needs a clear and detailed future plan to make its intended significant long-term improvements to its service. It will need to improve its understanding of the demands upon it and the capabilities of its workforce to achieve this.

The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well. However, I am concerned that it does not consistently comply with legislation when dealing with detainees in custody. It also needs to strengthen governance of its use of force in these facilities.

My overall assessment is that the force’s performance has declined since last year.


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

Last updated 27/09/2019

Suffolk Constabulary is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour and responds positively to areas for improvement identified by HMICFRS.

It has successfully addressed areas for improvement in how it investigates crime and tackles serious and organised crime and anti-social behaviour that we identified in our 2016 effectiveness inspection.

In our 2019 inspection, we found that complex and serious crime is investigated well by specialist staff, but the force needs to improve how it investigates some less complex crime. It is already working to improve the quality of these investigations but needs to make sure that these are consistently well supervised, and that staff have the skills to consistently conduct high-quality investigations. This will help investigations become of a consistently higher standard and focus on giving victims a satisfactory outcome.

The force is good at protecting vulnerable people. It understands the ways in which the population it serves are vulnerable and seeks out hidden harm and looks for vulnerability from the moment a person contacts the police. It responds promptly to incidents involving vulnerable people and makes good use of powers such as Clare’s Law to protect vulnerable people.

View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?

Last updated 27/09/2019

Suffolk Constabulary operates efficiently and we are satisfied that the 2017 area for improvement, relating to meeting current demands and using resources, has been addressed.

However, the force needs a clear, detailed future plan if it is to fulfil its vision of making Suffolk a safer place to live, work, travel and invest.

The force doesn’t have detailed enough recruitment and training plans to meet its future needs and it should build on its current plans to successfully make significant long-term improvements to its service.

View the two questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 27/09/2019

Suffolk 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 anti-corruption unit (ACU) is limited in its ability to pursue corruption proactively. A new ICT monitoring system intended to protect the force’s data may put further pressure on this unit.

Suffolk Constabulary is good at treating the workforce fairly.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

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.

Other reports

Last updated 27/09/2019
View other reports

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

1,468 square miles


0.761m people
up5% local 10 yr change


94% frontline police officers
92% national level
2.94 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
down4% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.05 per person
0.06 national level
up5% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


49p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • Suffolk is a small force in terms of officer numbers but is still making savings while policing a growing and ageing population.
  • The force polices extensive rural and coastal areas as well as vibrant urban centres whilst responding to changing demands for services.

Police and crime plan priorities

A PCP sets out the police and crime commissioner’s (PCC’s) priorities for policing and the resources the PCC has allocated to the chief constable for achieving these priorities.