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Report finds Norfolk force needs to improve way it investigates crime

PUBLISHED: 17:28 02 May 2019

Norfolk Constabulary has been rated good but needs to improve the way it investigates cromes, according to a report. Picture: Neil Perry

Norfolk Constabulary has been rated good but needs to improve the way it investigates cromes, according to a report. Picture: Neil Perry

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Norfolk Constabulary needs to "improve the way it investigates crimes through better training and more effective supervision", according to a new report.

A report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that the Norfolk force was good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour but “needs to improve the way it investigates crime”.

The report stated: “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.”

There was also concern about not complying with legislation when dealing with detainees in custody.

In response Norfolk police said the force “always strive to be better” and has appointed a lead for investigations to assist us in delivering this consistency.

The spokesman also said the use of force in custody was a national issue reflected locally and is due to a lack of alignment between use of force reporting and custody systems.

The report found Norfolk was good at protecting vulnerable people and tackling serious and organised crime although inspectors found the force's investigations were not all of good quality.

They said few investigation plans were logged on the force's crime system with some records only being reviewed by a supervisor towards the end.

Overall Norfolk was found to be good at effectively reducing crime and keeping people safe, outstanding at operating efficiently and providing sustainable services to the public and good in the way it treats the public and its workforce.

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HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said: “I congratulate Norfolk Constabulary on its excellent performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force understands its communities and tackles anti-social behaviour well. It works closely with partners to ensure it safeguards victims. But it needs to improve the way it investigates crimes through better training and more effective supervision.”

Norfolk's chief constable has welcomed the report and said it shows they have been working hard to “provide the best possible service to the public”.

Simon Bailey said the force has adapted to deal with the changing face of complex crime as well as giving more focus to issues like rural crime and anti-social behaviour but, like other forces, faced the pressure of reducing resources.

He said: “Unfortunately as a consequence something has to give. In Norfolk's case we have had to rapidly increase recruitment, introducing a high number of staff into policing and this has exposed a key area around how we undertake frontline investigations where we, along with many others, need to make changes. Fortunately, we had already recognised this issue, with a review of our services finding some of our investigative knowledge and skills moving from frequently committed crime investigations to specialist teams.”

Chief constable's response

Norfolk's chief constable has welcomed the report and said it shows they have been working hard to “provide the best possible service to the public”.

Simon Bailey said the force has adapted to deal with the changing face of complex crime as well as giving more focus to issues like rural crime and anti-social behaviour but, like other forces, faced the pressure of reducing resources.

He said: “Unfortunately as a consequence something has to give. In Norfolk's case we have had to rapidly increase recruitment, introducing a high number of staff into policing and this has exposed a key area around how we undertake frontline investigations where we, along with many others, need to make changes. Fortunately, we had already recognised this issue, with a review of our services finding some of our investigative knowledge and skills moving from frequently committed crime investigations to specialist teams.”

Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green, said: “I am pleased by the fact the constabulary has been recognised as one of the most efficient forces in the country in today's HMICFRS report.

“The community of Norfolk should take comfort that their police force has been recognised as outstanding in areas of efficiency and has a strong victim focus.

“Whilst this is very positive news I am mindful there are identified areas for improvement. However, I am heartened by the progress reports coming from the Chief Constable to address these areas, namely how the force investigates crime, and I will continue to scrutinise progress closely.”

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