Posted: Monday 2nd June 2014
I’m very conscious that whenever we report positive news about falling crime rates, this brings anything but comfort to those members of the community who have suffered or lost at the hands of criminals. While every effort is made to keep crime low, I’m well aware that if you are unfortunate enough to become a victim, it makes absolutely no difference to you whether your neighbourhood is the safest or most crime-ridden in the county. One crime is always one too many and for every offence recorded, a family or an individual somewhere will be struggling to deal with the unpleasant experience.
The fact is crime in Calverton is low but even relatively low-level crime such as anti-social behaviour can significantly reduce quality of life and intensify feelings of fear, particularly among victims. This can be exacerbated by a less than satisfactory experience in terms of apprehending and punishing an offender. Victims are the most important consideration in any crime and if people encounter negative experiences during any part of the criminal justice process where they would expect support, help and information then they rightly lose confidence in that system.
Later this year, my office takes over responsibility for commissioning services for victims which is a hugely positive step forward and one that promises to bring wholesale improvements to their experience of the criminal justice journey. I’m determined to improve services for victims and that includes, as a priority, keeping them informed of every stage of the investigation process. One of the ways we are already trying to improve matters is the introduction of ‘Track my Crime’ on the Force website which helps keep people up to date with the progress on a case. We are also working very hard with our partners to speed up the processes involved so justice is delivered more efficiently to enable victims to move on.
I’m as committed to improving our response to victims as I am about making our streets safer and this is something that we simply have to get right. There is absolutely no room for failure. I’m very lucky to have the support of my deputy, Chris Cutland, who has a wealth of experience in providing victims’ services and who will oversee the work in this area to bring forward the positive changes needed.
In the meantime, we can all play our part to keep safe by taking sensible precautions to avoid unwanted attention from offenders. This includes not leaving mobiles phones and other expensive items on full show for criminals, locking doors and windows and keeping a friendly eye on our neighbours and their property.