Sussex Police needs to improve how it keeps the public safe and reduces crime, the police inspectorate has said.
Sussex Police’s performance was ‘good’ in two areas, ‘adequate’ in four areas, ‘requires improvement’ in one area, and ‘inadequate’ in two areas.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said the force did not always record reports of violent crime – particularly behavioural crimes (harassment, stalking, controlling and coercive behaviour), rape, domestic abuse and antisocial behaviour.
In the year 2021/22 HMICFRS estimated that Sussex Police did not record over 20,000 crimes. As part of their inspection they reviewed 63 reports of rape. Out of the 63, they found five rape crimes hadn’t been recorded at all and six rape crimes were incorrectly classified.
However, the Inspectorate said that the force works well with communities and has progressed involvement with some hard-to-reach communities. It also praised Sussex Police’s work prevention and enforcement, including a focus on reducing serious youth violence and on habitual knife carriers.
His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Roy Wilsher said:
Sussex Police urgently needs to improve how it responds to the public, and how it records crime.
Its recording of reports of violent crime is inadequate, and the force is also missing opportunities to safeguard vulnerable people. It needs to improve the way it assesses initial calls to the force so that vulnerable people and repeat callers are routinely identified.
As a result of my concerns I have already been in contact with the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner.
I am pleased with the way the force has responded so far and I will continue to check the force’s progress in addressing areas for improvement in the coming months.His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
In response to the publication of the report, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:
Disappointingly, parts of the report are sobering and clearly outline areas for which the Force must take responsibility. Swift action must be implemented to improve recording processes, identify gaps in protocols and provide specific training to officers and staff. This is crucial in order to provide our residents with the best policing service and to maintain and build public confidence.
It’s reassuring that I have already addressed many of these issues with the Chief Constable at my monthly Performance & Accountability Meetings. This inspection was undertaken over six months ago, so I am aware of the extensive work under way to bring about improvements and am reassured that the inadequate areas are already being addressed.Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner
Chief Constable Jo Shiner welcomed the report and the opportunity to further improve services for the people of Sussex:
I remain absolutely committed to delivering the best possible service we can for the people of Sussex and I’m confident that changes already made have already significantly improved our position since last year.Chief Constable
Download a copy of the report PEEL 2021/22 – An inspection of Sussex Police.