Police blame murders work for failings

Suffolk police have blamed the investigation into the Ipswich murders for failings in their crime-management systems.

Suffolk police have blamed the investigation into the Ipswich murders for failings in their crime-management systems.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has audited the force's management arrange-ments and the quality of their records. It found the force had "poor management arrangements and data quality" and that "systems and processes are generally performing poorly, primarily due to a lack of first-line supervision and standards monitoring".

The police had kept few records about people given penalty notices for disorder (PNDs), which are £50 or £80 fines given for offences like throwing fireworks or being drunk and disorderly. The inspec-tion report said: "PND files were found to contain little in the way of evidence, consequently in the event of these tickets being chall-enged by the suspect, there would be little prospect of collating a viable prosecution file."

The report goes on to say that crime files are generally of a poor standard, possibly because they are being archived without being looked at by supervisors. It says that officers being taken off normal duties to work on the Ipswich murders had led to there being "no clear crime policy lead" and that as a result processes had developed locally and in an ad hoc way.

Next Friday's meeting of Suffolk Police Authority's monitoring and audit committee will be told that steps are being taken to improve things. The report from temporary assistant chief constable John Fletcher says the inspectors were aware of the impact of the Ipswich murders investigation, which has been a drain on investigating officers. He said providing leadership on crime policy was "highest priority" and will be taken over by the head of crime management.

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