Just finished my first month as Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner! I was appointed “to be the victims’ voice”, carrying out Kevin Hurley’s pledge to put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system.
So what have I done so far?
– started to meet all the organisations and people who provide services for victims (domestic abuse outreach services in Redhill, Walton and Woking; victim support volunteers and their managers in Weybridge and Shalford; the witness service at Crown and Magistrates’ courts)
– spoken up for victims at two key Criminal Justice meetings where services are managed. At the Criminal Justice partnership bi-monthly board I presented a paper on whether the courts meet victims needs – the first thing I was invited to do
– found out more about restorative justice (we’ll all hear more about this in the next few months)
– heard what the police Youth Interventions Team are doing to help victims get reparation as well as reducing youth offending
Some early reflections……
– it’s clear that everyone – the police, probation, the Court Service, the voluntary organisations –want victims to be well served. So we are all on the same side, which is a good starting place
– I’m really pleased that – far from being defensive- the Court Service and others want to hear what I have to say and have invited me to do more “mystery shopping” at Surrey’s courts. Likewise Surrey Police – I am testing the victim’s experience at all its stages, starting with the call made to the police contact centre
– The contribution made by volunteers is truly impressive – high quality dedicated support for people who have had a traumatic experience and may have to face it again at court
– I had no idea I would find listening to calls to the police contact centre so interesting. As one call handler in the very calm and patient team said to me “I learn something new every day”……