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Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Bulletin - Issue 3

18 October 2019

A word from APCC Chief Executive Susannah Hancock

Today we publish our APCC Impact Report for 2018/19. Producing the report has been a great opportunity to reflect on our priorities as an organisation, measure our success against our two-year business plan and look ahead to the next year.

The Impact Report covers what has been a busy and successful year for the APCC, supporting PCCs to provide national leadership and drive strategic change right across policing and criminal justice.

More than ever before we have looked to assess and communicate out the innovative and vital work PCCs do in their local communities. The #PCCsMakingADifference campaign highlights the breadth of work that PCCs do across England and Wales to help keep our communities safe. Our series of “In Focus” publications showcase some of the best innovations and projects commissioned by PCCs across priority areas such as supporting victims; preventing crime; tackling serious violence; stopping violence against women and girls and many more. You can read the publications on our website. PCCs continue to make a real difference within their local communities, working side by side with local partners and with communities themselves. This partnership approach is also something that we highlight throughout the Impact Report.

The Impact report is also an important opportunity to look forward. The coming year presents many challenges but also some great opportunities. PCCs and the APCC look forward to working with all our partners to continue to make a real difference to the communities we serve.

Next week the APCC will publish its next #PCCsMakingADifference ‘Prevention in Focus’ publication, look out for further details in the next Bulletin.

Susannah Hancock
APCC Chief Executive


PCCs welcome new legislative focus on tackling violent crime

New legislation set out in the Queen’s Speech set out a strong focus on tackling violent crime and improving the confidence of the victims and the wider public in the criminal justice system.

APCC Chair Katy Bourne welcomed the legislation: “The formal reintroduction of the Domestic Violence Bill will be very much welcomed, and PCCs will look to engage with the detail in the legislation as it progresses through Parliament. Measures proposed through a new Police Protections Bill, including proposals to establish a Covenant, are an important step forward in recognising the heroic work and sacrifice of police officers in all of our communities. The Mental Health Act reforms are also a key area for PCCs and we look forward to engaging with the White Paper when published.

“In addition, measures included in a Serious Violence Bill, contain a new duty on agencies to collaborate to prevent violence. I know that PCCs are already engaged on this and are committed to working with their Chief Constables and wider local partners to reduce serious violence, including through taking a more preventative whole-system approach.”

PCC engages sports organisations to tackle violent crime

PCC Jane Kennedy brought together the sports sector this month for a seminar at Goodison Park to explore their role in reducing violent crime within Merseyside.

The event, supported by Liverpool F.C legends Jamie Carragher and Ian Rush and Everton Football Club ambassadors Graham Stuart and Ian Snodin, engaged with representatives from sports clubs across Merseyside looking at how they can work with the newly-formed Violence Reduction Unit to help prevent young people getting drawn into crime.

The Violence Reduction Unit is being established after the Police Commissioner and Merseyside Police secured £3.37m from the Home Office to adopt a new public health-focussed approach to tackling serious violence in Merseyside.
The funding will be used for both short and long-term projects aimed at diverting people away from violence, including projects aimed at intervening when children are at risk of being excluded from school, criminal exploitation or committing serious violence. Key to this work is the sports sector, who can play a vital role in putting in place activities aimed at preventing young people from being involved with, or a victim, of crime.

The PCC already works closely with Everton in the Community and the LFC Foundation, as well as the Princes Trust and the Shrewsbury House Youth Club through the joint Merseyside Youth Alliance project, which delivers early intervention programmes targeting young people aged 8-19 across Merseyside, particularly focusing on areas where violence is at a high.

PCCs encourage victims of hate crime to come forward

In Hate Crime Awareness Week, Police and Crime Commissioners expressed deep concern at the 10% rise in hate crime recorded by the police compared to 2017/2018, as well as reported spikes linked to specific events such as the EU referendum and the 2017 terrorist attacks. Hate crimes and incidents have a profound effect on victims and represent an attack on the very values that our life here in the UK is based on.

Speaking on the statistics, APCC lead for hate crime, PCC Hardyal Dhindsa said: “PCCs will continue to challenge forces to do all they can to respond to hate crime and ensure that the victims services we commission are able to respond with sensitivity and tact to the needs of hate crime victims.

”It is encouraging, however, to see how the rise in reporting suggests that victims are increasingly confident to come forward to the police: I believe this reflects the progress that forces have made on community engagement and understanding the needs of all the communities they serve. If you have been the victim of a hate crime or incident, I encourage you to come forward.

PCCs across England and Wales have also been taking action during Hate Crime Awareness Week to ensure all victims of hate crime have access to support.

Hampshire PCC has joined forces with Hate Crime Network to make Southampton’s hate crime reporting app available to all Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents. The app has details of more than 70 Third Party Reporting Centres which are independent of the police and offer confidential support to victims of hate crime, including reporting and signposting to specialist support services.

Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger has long prioritised tackling inequality and hate crime. To ensure hate crime is investigated properly he funds two dedicated hate crime investigators, who have secured hundreds of positive outcomes for victims since they were introduced two years ago. School Liaison Officers have also been reintroduced to promote good citizenship with young people at an early age.

Speaking on his support for National Hate Crime Awareness Week he said: “I’m proud of the work my office does to support victims of hate crime and to encourage young people to grow up with an understanding that tolerance and diversity is to be celebrated, not feared.”

Doing Better for Victims and Witnesses with Mental Health Problems

APCC lead for mental health, PCC Matthew Scott, commissioned Victim Support to undertake research in Kent to understand how people with mental health problems were being supported through the criminal justice system. The report, launched co coincide with World Mental Health Day, shines a light on the barriers to support affecting victims of crime with mental health problems.

The report found that Kent residents with mental health problems were more likely to be targeted for certain crimes and whilst recognising positive steps to address challenges facing vulnerable victims of crime, says more work must be done to help those affected to access the services they are entitled to. Recommendations include the introduction of joined-up support between agencies, earlier identification of victims with mental health problems, and improving waiting times and access to mental health services for both victims and witnesses.

PCC Matthew Scott said: ‘I am pleased that the report found a wealth of good practice going on in our county, but there is evidently room for improvement. For example, Victim Support found the availability of video links at courts for vulnerable witnesses to be patchy. The criminal justice system needs to identify and accommodate every individual’s own needs.’

 

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