Suffolk police’s performance rated as ‘good’ by inspectors
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk police is effective in responding to crime and keeping people safe but needs a clear future plan to make long-term improvements, according to a new report from government inspectors.
The PEEL assessment report into Suffolk's Constabulary's performance by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), published today, rated the force as 'good' overall.
Inspectors found the force was good at reducing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour, operating efficiently and treating the public and its staff well.
The way the force investigates crime, particularly lower level offences, was highlighted as an area to improve.
Zoe Billingham, HM Inspector of Constabulary, said: "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.
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"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.
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"I am pleased to see that by introducing changes across a number of areas since our previous inspection, the chief constable and his senior leaders have shown a clear commitment to improve policing services for the communities of Suffolk."
Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Rachel Kearton said: "I'm really pleased with the report overall, it shows us as working really well in Suffolk at the moment and it's a really good reflection of the hard work and commitment of the staff that work for Suffolk Constabulary.
"I'm particularly pleased that it recognises that we are effective and efficient and that we are legitimate in the way that we work.
"There is still more work to be done, volume crime - the less serious crime is a challenge for us with the resourcing challenges and other commitments that we have and that is continuing.
"We are a learning organisation and I'm proud that we continue to always improve. At the end of the day, Suffolk is a very safe place to live and we have lower crime rates than the majority of other forces around the UK. So we're in a good place."
Speaking of HMICFRS' comments regarding future plans, DCC Kearton said: "One of the challenges policing has is that we don't have a financial plan for more than 12 months ahead so we are limited to some degree in the planning that we can do.
"However, we have a number of different plans in terms of reviewing strategic priorities, the risks to the public and the communities is carried out by the police. Likewise, we have the police and crime plan so we have a number of long-term plans. "Tim's [Passmore] plan is a four-year plan so how far do we have to plan ahead? I think we've got a pretty good vision of where we're going in the long-term."
Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, said he didn't agree with some of the comments made by Ms Billingham.
"The inspections for the last four if not five years have been consistently rated as good, there are a couple of areas for improvement but you'd expect that in any large organisation," he said.
"I don't agree with some of the comments Zoe Billingham has made, she's entitled to her view but I think the evidence would suggest that that's been a rather harsh analysis.
"Because we put extra resources into recruiting more detective capability. We didn't wait for the report, we were already on the front foot and started doing that two years ago, and obviously it takes time for that to come through.
"But I do wish the inspectorate would recognise the huge workload the constabulary has compared with other forces. We are one of the safest in the country and one of the lowest funded.
"It says complex and serious crime is investigated well by specialist staff and that's a real accolade. I accept there's more to do on lower level crime but you've got to prioritise the really dangerous stuff and think that's what people expect.
"So room for improvement in places, but overall I think it's a very good report."