New funding of £1m will be spent across the country to ensure victims and witnesses are given a powerful local voice ahead of the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) next year.
The commissioner for victims and witnesses, Louise Casey, will work in partnership with Victim Support, the national charity for victims, to set up a network of advocates who will:
- hear directly from victims and witnesses about their experiences through public meetings, links with victims’ groups, surveys and discussions with residents in high-crime areas
- look at what is in place to help victims locally, whether victims can access these services and if all the victims that need help are getting it, particularly those who need it most
- set out what needs to be done locally to better protect and support victims
- make sure local crime and policing strategies reflect victims’ needs and priorities, so that victims have a proper voice locally
- advise PCCs on local issues and victims’ needs from their introduction in 2012
Home Secretary statement
The Home Secretary said: ‘Crime and antisocial behaviour blights communities and can make people’s lives an absolute misery, in some cases leading to tragic consequences.
‘I am delighted this money will see victims better represented at a local level ahead of PCCs who will take forward this important work from May next year.
‘We are also currently consulting on a new way to tackle antisocial behaviour including giving residents the power to compel local agencies to take action against repeat offenders.’
Statement from Louise Casey
Louise Casey said: ‘I am delighted that the Home Secretary has allocated funds of £1 million for prioritising victims - this is a real show of support from the government.
‘The role of PCCs has been designed to bring in much needed local accountability on crime and policing and I welcome their clear obligation to represent the needs of victims of crime in the communities they will serve.
‘This funding from the Home Secretary allows for the ground to be laid in advance of the arrival of PCCs to gauge what victims experiences are, what services are currently on offer and what more will need to be done.
‘I hope that it means PCCs will arrive with the full picture on victims’ priorities and can make any changes needed quickly. I believe this will mean that, in future, victims will then have a louder voice around the table of local crime and policing, where in the past it has often been neglected.’
Notes to editors
1. For more information about advocates and their role and to interview Louise Casey CB, commissioner for victims and witnesses, contact Philip Skelton at the Victims’ Commission on 0207 035 3851 or 07771 852880.
2. For more information about the commissioner for victims and witnesses, visit the Ministry of Justice website.
3. Visit the Victim Support website for more information about the organisation.
4. PCCs will be introduced from May next year in every police force area, replacing unaccountable Police Authorities. They will be directly elected by the public, set local policing priorities and hold chief constables to account whilst protecting the operational independence of the police. For further details please go to http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-centre/news/police-crime-commissioners
5. The government recently set out new plans for tackling antisocial behaviour (ASB) with a public consultation following a review of ASB tools and powers. This includes a Community Trigger to give residents the power to compel local agencies to take action against local troublemakers. For more details visit the consultation pages of this website.
6. Earlier this year the government also announced trials in eight police force areas setting out a new approach for handling complaints of ASB. It includes a new system of logging complaints and improving the use of IT to share information that will help to quickly identify and protect vulnerable victims. For further details go to http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-centre/press-releases/new-help-asb
7. For any other information please contact Home Office Press Office on 020 7035 3535.