Crime Comparator

This page contains the following information:

Description of policing environment

Description of the force

Summary of performance

Violence against a person

Acquisitive  crime

Anti-Social behaviour

Vulnerable people

Safety of public spaces


For an update on Suffolk’s performance please click here.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, has been clear that her overarching priority for the police is to cut crime. In practice, this involves: the prevention and detection of crime; understanding offender behaviour; dealing with the activities that can lead to criminality; building relationships with the public; understanding the experience of victims; maintaining public order; policing public spaces; keeping communities safe; and many other issues.

In addition, as an emergency service, the police have a number of other responsibilities and commitments, including preparing for and responding to major incidents and even natural disasters.

This statement is an attempt to represent all the demands, responsibilities and commitments on the police and put the statistics made available to the public in context.

The role of the police is to respond to calls for assistance from the public and other agencies, and to initiate other activity to ensure the safety of the community. Ultimately, everything the police do is in order to cut crime.

In common with the rest of the public sector, police forces are finding new and less expensive ways of working that meet the needs of the public and sustain quality of service.

Of particular note is the new initiative of Restorative Justice (or community resolution) through which the police can reduce re-offending, reduce cost and better meet the needs of victims in dealing with crimes where the offender is known. Forces now use new ways of dealing with some crimes, meaning that some ‘official’ statistics (such as detection rates) under-represent the success in solving crimes.

Forces are also placing emphasis on understanding criminals, particularly those who represent a serious threat and operate in organised groups. Offenders don’t recognise force boundaries and so police forces work together to prevent serious crimes including terrorism. These crimes are relatively rare but take a great deal of effort and resource.

In order to increase resilience and reduce the cost of policing in Suffolk, significant progress has been made around working in collaboration with other forces individually and at a regional level. The most important of these is Suffolk’s preferred partnership with Norfolk Constabulary. During the next few years Suffolk and Norfolk will be providing a joint policing service for nearly all back office functions, as well as most specialist frontline areas such as protective services and custody.

For example, six new Police Investigation Centres (PICs) have been built across the two counties. The introduction of PICs across Suffolk and Norfolk has seen custody facilities centralised to six centres. Two of these are in Suffolk, one in Bury St. Edmunds and one at Martlesham (PHQ), with the remaining four in Norfolk at Gorleston near Great Yarmouth, Wymondham, Kings Lynn and Aylsham.

Suffolk and Norfolk are working in true collaboration, with jointly managed and financed units. This can lead to difficulties when reading ‘official’ statistics on workforce numbers, as these will not represent the true nature of collaborative units.


Description of policing environment

Suffolk Constabulary is responsible for policing an area of 3801 square kilometres, with a population of around 720,000, which has grown nearly 8% since 2001.

Suffolk is a rural county and has large areas of low population density, with nearly a quarter of all residents living in villages. A long coastline stretches from Felixstowe in the south to Lowestoft in the north, and the county is renowned for its rural businesses, such as farming, light industry, brewing and tourism.

The county has some notable landmarks, such as the headquarters of British horseracing at Newmarket and the largest container port in Europe at Felixstowe. It has a number of military bases, two of which – Lakenheath and Mildenhall – are home to the United States Air Force and approximately 20,000 dependants. The county town of Ipswich poses the greatest policing demand, which primarily relates to its busy nightlife and significant levels of relative deprivation.

As Suffolk is a predominantly rural county, it is perhaps not surprising that its economic growth is lower than the national and regional averages. Suffolk also has a relatively low proportion of its population who are of working-age, and this is closely related to the fact that some parts of the county are popular locations for retirement. The proportion of people of working age reflects the generally older age structure in the county. Equally, there has been a substantial increase in the student population with the continued success of Suffolk New Collage. This expansion has seen a growth in students from outside the county living and studying in Ipswich.

Suffolk has a diverse community, with around 7% of all residents being black or minority ethnic. In Suffolk around the same percentage as the national average live as same-sex couples and a slightly higher than average percentage describe themselves as Christian.


Description of the force


Summary of performance

Suffolk is a safe county, with crime now at its lowest level for a decade having reduced for the 5th year in a row.  More crime was solved in our county too, with the proportion of crimes being solved increasing by 3% to 33%. 

But it’s not just crime that is falling, as the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour fell by 8.3%.  This is reflected in the fact that people in Suffolk have the lowest level of concern about anti-social behaviour in England, according to the national British Crime Survey.

Surveys show that falling crime and anti social behaviour have helped to make more than 90% of people in Suffolk feel safe.  They also show that more than 84% of people who had contact with us said they were satisfied with the service they received.

Dealing with crime and anti social behaviour is important, but Suffolk Constabulary deal with far more than this.  For instance, we answered more than 91% of the 91,557 - 999 calls we received within 10 seconds and attended more than 90% of all emergencies within 15 minutes.

The Force recognises that key challenges in respect of the level house burglary and violent crime involving injury continue and these have been made priorities for performance improvement by the Police Authority.



Violence against a person

Violence against the person is a very broad label that ranges from murder, through assaults causing injury, to stalking and harassment (that doesn’t cause physical injury). It accounts for approximately 20% of all crime in England and Wales.

Violent crime, particularly involving injury, is a high priority for the Force.  All types of violence are carefully investigated by category including domestic and child abuse, violence in public and sexual offences.  Specialist officers are employed in each category including a night-time economy team, victim care officers and a dedicated rape investigation team.

Working in partnership a Sexual Assault Referral Centre has been opened in Ipswich allowing victims to confidentially report crimes and incidents from which they receive comprehensive support.  Also, working in partnership, progress is being made in respect of licensing legislation designed to help ensure a safer night-time economy, supported by initiatives such as the introduction of town pastors, the nationally recognised “Best Bar None” scheme and an SOS bus service.


Acquisitive crime

Acquisitive crime is based on a motivation to steal money or property and includes burglary, robbery, vehicle crime, and theft and handling stolen goods. It accounts for approximately 50% of all crime in England and Wales.

In respect of acquisitive crime, Suffolk has low rates with vehicle crime having fallen by 30% over the last decade.  For households in Suffolk the chance of being subjected to a burglary is fewer than 1 in 150 each year, which is well below the national average.  Suffolk has relatively few robbery offences with two-thirds occurring in Ipswich and a priority crime team has been formed to tackle this and associated offending.


Quality of life and sevice

Anti-Social behaviour

Anti social behaviour (ASB) is categorised as either nuisance, environmental or personal ASB. It includes rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour, street drinking and malicious/nuisance communications. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish this from some crimes, such as criminal damage and ‘low level’ public order. It is also often a precursor to crime. ASB has a complex relationship with crime and can be a matter of interpretation and perspective. However, it can have devastating effects on quality of life and the safety of individuals and communities, particularly if it is a repeated event.

Public consultation has shown that ASB is consistently the highest priority for the people of Suffolk.  ASB, particularly rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour, has been reduced by 20% over the last 4 years. This coincided with a reduction of 20% in criminal damage offences.  Much of this work has been achieved through effective partnership working and local engagement with residents, to reduce repeat victimisation and target hot spot locations. This work is being further developed with the introduction of joint-agency ASB teams, which draw together the different services to tackle ongoing problems.


Vulnerable people

Individuals or groups are often vulnerable because of their circumstances or characteristics such as religion, age, ethnicity or previous victimisation. The police have a responsibility to protect vulnerable members of the public, whether victims of crime or not. Specially trained officers provide support to vulnerable people.

The Constabulary has committed itself to a programme of consultation and engagement with minority groups in order to understand their needs and concerns.  This has helped to develop policies relating to key activities such as hate crime, stop & search and the provision of services to victims of sexual offences.

The Contabulary has a vibrant Stop & Search reference group including members of the public and representatives from the Ipswich & Suffolk Campaign for Racial Equality (ISCRE).  The multi-agency Hate Crime Unit ensures victims of hate crime are supported and that investigation opportunities are maximised.  Crimes involving domestic abuse are subjected to a detailed risk assessment to help ensure vulnerable victims are protected and that offenders are brought to justice.


Safety of public spaces

As well as dealing with crimes and incidents and protecting individuals, the police also deal with the safety of larger groups, both as part of organised, pre-planned events and in emergency situations. The police work closely with other agencies (including the other emergency services) to facilitate the safety of the public, and provide the flexibility to respond to anything dangerous or criminal that might happen during these large scales events.



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