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11 February 2016, 07:20
A report released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary has praised Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies for their treatment of the public.
They both received a 'good' ranking, following a recent inspection which sought to judge whether those working in the force behave in a way that is fair, ethical and within the law.
The forces also had to show that it generates the trust and cooperation of the public.
Interviews, data collection and audits were carried out on areas including taser deployment, stop and search and call handing. Inspectors also looked at the way in which the force engages with the public and understand its communities' needs.
Suffolk Chief Constable Gareth Wilson said: "I am extremely pleased that we have received this positive ranking from inspectors. Ethical, legitimate working is at the heart of our business. As a police service, we need to have the trust and confidence of those we serve and I am committed to ensuring that this is the culture that runs through the workforce at every level.
"It is essential that every member of the public we deal with is treated with fairness and respect, and our policies around areas such as the use of taser and stop and search reflect this and are subject of continual review. This ensures that officers involved in these sensitive areas are following national guidance and are trained to the highest level to ensure that their actions are legitimate.
"We know that the large majority of our communities have confidence in the policing services we provide, and public survey figures tell us that public confidence in Suffolk is at its highest in a decade. This is fantastic, and something I am keen to protect. The report recognised the importance we place in engaging with the public and understanding local concerns. This is key - I want us to be accessible and available to people in the ways they wish to contact us. As a result, we are developing enhanced online services through a new website which is due to launch later this year, and improving our call handling processes to ensure that we are available 24/7 to those who need us."
Norfolk Deputy Chief Constable Charlie Hall welcomed the result saying: "To effectively and efficiently police by consent the Force needs to be seen to be acting in a way that is considered fair and ethical. I am pleased to see that HMIC inspectors believe that we deliver our service in such a way."
The report focused on three areas: the ethics of the force, how it engages with the public, and its use of tasers and stop and search.
It found tasers were used appropriately and officers were well trained, while stop and search powers were used fairly and effectively.
It also said both forces had a "strong ethical culture", complaints were dealth with fairly and consistently, and it understands the importance of engaging with the public.
The force in Suffolk was told it needs to improve the way it protects vulnerable people from harm and supports victims though.