Posted: Thursday 5th June 2014
The role of Police and Crime Commissioner is not to run the day to day operations of the police, that responsibility falls to the Chief Constable. As Commissioner, I am here to hold the police to account on your behalf and ensure you receive an effective and efficient police service, but that is only half of my job.
A great deal of my work this year will involve working with our partners in community safety to improve the services for victims of crime, from October I will be responsible for commissioning most of the practical and emotional services for victims across the Humberside Police area. I will be looking at those providers who can best help victims recover from their ordeal, particularly those who have experienced violent crime, and bereaved families. Of course, it is better to stop people becoming victims in the first place, and I will be working with all organisations, not just the police, to promote better crime prevention measures and support for vulnerable people.
Since I took office, I have held regular surgeries with victims of crime. I have sat, often for hours and listened to harrowing stories from victims of the most serious crimes such as rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. I have also met families who have lost loved ones, and I am frequently moved to the point of tears as they all relate their experiences, not just of the ordeal they suffered at the hands of the perpetrator, but the support, and sometimes lack of support they were given by the police, the criminal justice system and other agencies. These meetings act as my rocket fuel, the victim must always come first as these crimes erode and damage the lives of many families, in particular the lives of any children involved. Considerable work is going into the preparation for the commissioning of victims services from October, but I have already acted locally to make a difference.
Last month, I made a grant from my Community Safety budget to fund an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) for the next 12 months. There were already three advisors employed across the Humberside Police area, but some places were covered better than others. There cannot be a postcode lottery with a service as serious as this, so funding has been provided to employ a further advisor to deliver a vital service to victims of sexual crime.
The role of the ISVA is to provide ongoing support to victims of recent and historic sexual abuse and make sure they have the best advice on what counselling and other services are available to them, the process involved in reporting a crime to the police, and taking their case through the criminal justice process, should they choose to do so. I have also asked for further reports on the provision and availability of Domestic Violence services and support for child victims of sexual violence in each local authority area. The information I am gathering will help me determine how and where future funding decisions are made.
It’s time victims had a better deal.
If you have been a victim of Sexual Violence recently or in the past, you can get more advice at www.casasuite.org.uk or call them on 01482 305037