A message from your Chief Constable
Policing plays a fundamental role in society; we have unique powers to keep you safe in your
homes, on the streets and online. In times of difficulty, we are often the first and only point of
contact, and in many cases, the service of last resort.
Our communities expect and deserve exceptional service. We strive to deliver this by protecting you from harm and building and sustaining trust.
We know successful policing depends on getting the basics right and in Norfolk we call this ‘core policing’. Core policing means prioritising the core services the public value the most: answering calls swiftly, getting to incidents quickly, investigating crime well, relentlessly targeting criminals and providing exceptional services to victims of crime.
In the recent recruitment drive to uplift officer numbers, we exceeded our target by 15% and we’ve prioritised deploying our new officers into departments which deliver these core services. Our results show that this approach is working:
- In May 2023 we delivered the best 999 performance in the country (based on average time to answer).
- Norfolk Constabulary currently has one of the highest crime detection rates in the country.
- Norfolk has one of the lowest burglary rates in the country.
- In the last 12 months we have significantly reduced our number of outstanding suspects.
- Our County Lines enforcement has resulted in over 300 years of imprisonment for those who attempt to deal drugs on our streets.
- Arrests are up, drug seizures are up, knife seizures are up and admissions to hospital for violence offences are down.
We are proud of these achievements and will continue to prioritise core policing so that our success continues.
In our most recent inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) we had maintained or improved our performance in nearly all areas. Indeed,
Norfolk Constabulary was graded as ‘Outstanding’ for how we use our resources, with inspectors particularly noting the efficiency of the organisation. As the National Policing Lead for Finance, it is vital that I lead by example in the efficient running of my force.
We are a lean organisation and aim to make the best use of every pound given to us. However, we face significant financial challenges in the year driven mainly by inflationary pressures, increasing demand and the growing costs associated with achieving regulatory compliance.
With a significant percentage of policing budgets locked into police officer and police staff pay and long-term contracts, finding further savings with no service impact will be difficult.
We are committed to delivering our core services and wherever we can, we will seek to reduce the time spent responding to non-police related demand. We will be implementing the Right Care, Right Person initiative in Norfolk towards the end of the year.
Protecting the vulnerable and keeping people safe is at the heart of everything we do. However, all too often, my officers find themselves dealing with situations that could be better handled by other, more appropriate agencies. This includes people in mental health crisis, who need the help and support of professionals and not the skills of a police officer. This type of demand is ever increasing – one in five calls we receive is mental health related. The Right Care, Right Person initiative is about giving people the right support when they need it, from the right agency, and we are working closely with our partners to introduce this in Norfolk in the right way.
In addition, the constabulary is maximising its use of technology for greater efficiency with the use of video to attend calls for service virtually. This saves time, money, fuel and is greener, as well as providing victim satisfaction scores of 4.5+ out of 5. Furthermore, the force has swiftly adopted the changes in crime recording practices, which frees up officer time to investigate crime, be visible and engage with our communities.
In everything we do, the trust and support of our communities is essential in achieving our aims and is fundamental to the principle of ‘policing by consent’. Like all forces, we are not immune to the issues brought to light in the Baroness Casey report, and we recognise the significant impact this has on public confidence. We’ve increased the resources in our vetting and Professional Standards Department, and we are identifying those officers who have no place in policing.
Despite our continual effort to drive efficiency, the gains we have made are being overtaken by the continual increase in demand. Our 999 calls are up by 14% which ultimately results in additional attendance and more follow-up work. Therefore, additional funding is needed to maintain what we know is the public’s number one demand – visibility. Increasing demand is not our only challenge.
The inflationary costs that have bitten all communities and organisations have had a similar effect on the constabulary. Our approach of making every pound count never stops. Right now, we are having to assess how we provide additional resource to answer the calls for service, both in the Contact and Control Room and in the officers responding to emergency calls. The reality is this resource will have to come from reducing capability elsewhere in the force. Additional funding is required to maintain the quality of service being delivered.
Before you complete the survey, please take the time to consider the words from Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie.