31 Oct 2009


signalsfromnoise® helps Norfolk Constabulary drive down crime

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Norfolk Constabulary was one of the first police forces to be formed in the United Kingdom. Today the 1,500+ strong force is committed to delivering high quality and efficient services for the public, local communities, neighbourhoods and, most importantly, each one of the 840,000 residents of Norfolk.

Norfolk Constabulary has been able to target its crime-fighting efforts more effectively thanks to the introduction of the signalsfromnoise® (sfn®) performance management software from Lightfoot Solutions. Monthly crime totals have fallen by a remarkable 11.7% since April 2008, when sfn® was introduced at the same time as the force‟s new operational structure.

- Assault occasioning actual bodily harm has fallen from 4,227 crimes in 2007 to 2851 in 2008

There has been sustained improvement every month since the changes were introduced. There were some 4,500 crimes a month at the start of the new processes: this has now come down to about 4,000. In particular, Norfolk Constabulary has also achieved a substantial reduction in violent crime. Assault occasioning actual bodily harm has fallen from 4,227 crimes in 2007 to 2851 in 2008.

Norfolk Constabulary uses sfn® to learn from crime data, analyse trends, identify emerging issues and plan where policing should be targeted.

“sfn® has played a major part in the efficient way that Norfolk has achieved reductions in all categories of crime this year,” says Chief Superintendent Tony Cherington, who is Commander of Norfolk Constabulary’s County Delivery Unit. “It allows us focus on things that are real issues rather than things that aren‟t significant.”

The software has enabled Norfolk Constabulary to identify the „top 10‟ types of crime in each neighbourhood and concentrate its efforts on attacking these. Adopting this „lean‟ methodology has achieved dramatic results. Figures for the county‟s overall top 20 crimes have fallen by about 15% over the period since sfn® was introduced, from just below 4,000 a month to about 3,400.

Norfolk had already been successful in reducing crime for a number of years and is increasing the momentum with its modernisation programme, which is aimed at using resources to best effect and making more officers available for frontline duties.

The restructuring in 2008 meant that the three divisional headquarters at Kings Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Norwich were replaced by a single command structure for the whole county, the County Delivery Unit (CDU), which provides communities with identified local leaders and dedicated policing teams. The CDU, which is commanded by Chief Supt. Cherington, is made up of seven policing districts, each with a superintendent in charge. There are 32 inspector-led Local Delivery Units, consisting of a total of 52 local neighbourhoods.

“sfn® is right in the heart of our organisation and its restructuring, helping us to deliver significant crime reductions,” says Inspector Chris Harvey of Norfolk Constabulary’s Business Performance Unit. The use of sfn® fits well with Norfolk‟s vision of where it is heading, the pledge of what it aims to achieve and the principles of how this will be done, he says. “It has enabled us to support the Chief Constable in the restructure and to adopt the vision, pledge and principles.” In particular, sfn®‟‟s role is in line with a key part of Norfolk‟s Policing Pledge, which states that it will strive continually to reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime.