Meeting with Chair of the APCC: 23 January
The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners is the national body that supports locally elected Police and Crime Commissioners. The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. The Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners oversees the running of the organisation.
Meeting Date: 23 January 2017
Funding of Devolved Victim Services
The Victims’ Commissioner (VC) and the Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) agreed that annual funding settlements for victim services undermined service provision, with staff facing uncertainty and managers having to focus on managing the uncertainty. The VC has written to ministers to express her concern. Ministers want to be able to assess the “foundations for funding” and what works best for victims before agreeing for a longer-term settlement. VC will press for this work to be completed before the next funding decision is taken.
There is an ongoing discussion about wider devolution of services. It was agreed that PCCs needed more power to be able to hold agencies to account for their performance in respect of victims, including how agencies were providing victims’ entitlements, as set out in the Victims’ Code.
The PCCs were committed to supporting the Government in its roll-out of Section 28 (vulnerable witnesses pre-recording their evidence). The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) were presenting to PCCs on this at the APCC General Meeting on 25 January. The APCC were also working closely with MoJ and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Services (HMCTS) on this and were attending a “process mapping” workshop for the national roll-out of Section 28 on 25 January.
Victims’ Commissioner’s PCC visits
The VC reported on her visits to North Wales, Thames Valley, Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Cheshire and Derbyshire. An interim report would be published on her website shortly.
The APCC Chair would circulate the VC Newsletter to all PCC offices (action completed).
The VC’s office had written to all PCCs asking for information on how they capture data on victim satisfaction. This information would be fed into a satisfaction scoping review, to be published in the next few months. The APCC Chair had agreed to assist the VC in this by writing out to all PCCs (action completed).
Victims’ Commissioner’s Decency Pledge
The VC is planning a “victim awareness campaign” across all criminal justice agencies, increasing the awareness of staff of the needs of victims and encouraging them to view the system through the eyes of victims. The campaign would need input from all agencies. The APCC Chair welcomed the proposal and would represent PCCs on the national steering group.
National Standards and Monitoring Performance
The APPC Chair and VC discussed the VC’s recently published report on victims being offered the opportunity to make a Victim Personal Statement. The results, based on the National Crime Survey, were disappointing. The VC raised the possibility of agencies completing a data dashboard covering a handful of key entitlements arising from the Victims’ Code. The APPC Chair invited her to attend the next meeting of their Victims’ Portfolio Leads Group on 20 February, when this might be discussed in greater detail.
Northumbria PCC is putting a bid together for a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Transformation Fund, which will include a funding bid for six Victims’ Advocates for VAWG victims. If the posts are successful in supporting victims of VAWG crimes, they hope to roll-out the service to victims of other types of crime, and for there to eventually be a national roll-out.
The APCC Chair was aware of the VC’s interest in the use of Victims’ Advocates and was keen for her input. The VC saw this as a useful opportunity to offer a clearer definition of the role and explanation of how it might support victims of serious crime and vulnerable victims. The VC very much supported this initiative and would write, offering a suggestion on what the job description might include.