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Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Bulletin Issue 7

14 February 2020

Welcome to the APCC Bulletin

APCC Victims Leads support calls for further independent review of rape

During Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness week APCC Victims Leads supported calls for a further independent review of rape.

Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said:

“At present, all the evidence leads to us feeling hugely concerned that the criminal justice system is letting down rape and sexual assault survivors.

“Whilst there is always more we can do, PCCs have made significant improvements to local support services for victims, and there is some good work with partners across different regions. However, at a national level we are very concerned that the much-needed National Rape Review lacks leadership, momentum, resources and independence."

Sophie Linden, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing said:

“PCCs have a crucial role in supporting victims and survivors. We must ensure that victims and survivors can access the support they need, when they need it and that the criminal justice system does not fail these victims and survivors.”

Read the full statement here.




PCC encourages people to talk about mental health

PCC Matthew Scott, APCC Lead for Mental Health, has blogged in support of the Time to Talk campaign, sharing his personal experience and encouraging people to talk about mental health.

"PCCs have been championing initiatives, such as the Blue Light Programme, and investing in additional resources to manage demand and boost morale. In areas where PCCs have used money from their commissioning budgets to support mental health crisis services, we have shown that early intervention and community-based services can make a real difference.

"These local successes are a cause for celebration, but we should not fall into the trap of thinking that the battle has been won. ‘Time to Talk Day’ encourages individuals to do their bit, too, by striking up conversations. Getting better at chatting to colleagues, friends, neighbours, and family, is how we continue to make progress. Not sure about someone’s social media status? Pick up the phone! Or drop them a message! And don’t be afraid to ask - “Are you sure you’re ok?”. It might make a big difference."

Read the full blog here.

PCC welcomes consultation on pre-charge bail

The Government have announced a consultation on pre-charge bail in recognition that more needs to be done to ensure cases are dealt with effectively.
PCCs have long made the case that more must be done to protect victims if a suspect is released from custody while officers continue their investigation or await a charging decision.

APCC Criminal Justice Lead, David Lloyd PCC said:

“Police and Crime Commissioners are committed to ensuring that the needs of victims are put at the heart of policing and of the criminal justice system. We, therefore, welcome the consultation on pre-charge bail and the emphasis on the need to protect victims.

“I have personally raised concerns about the impact of the changes to pre-charge bail at the National Criminal Justice Board and we will now engage with this consultation, with Government and our policing partners to help take this forward.”

Officers trained to support victims of sexual violence

A new scenario-led video training package has been developed by Cheshire PCC David Keane to improve how frontline police officers respond to reports of rape and sexual violence.

PCC David Keane said:

“We know that incidents of rape and sexual violence are massively underreported with only 17 per cent of survivors reporting the crimes to the police and two thirds not telling anyone at all.

“It takes a lot of confidence for survivors to come forward and relive the ordeal so it’s important that they feel supported by police and other frontline agencies.

“These videos will use real-life scenarios to educate officers on the incidents they might face and help them identify how to respond appropriately and sensitively.

“I hope that this training aid will improve officers’ initial response and by building confidence and trust in the police service will encourage more survivors to report to the police.”

Read more about the training here.

Boxing clever: PCC funds innovative anti-violence project

A new project delivering free boxing classes to young people at risk of violence or knife crime was given a grant from the Leicestershire PCC.

The funding has enabled the club to provide boxing sessions targeting young people who have previously offended, are at risk of offending or are recovering from addiction problems. Additionally, the club is delivering mentorship focusing on developing personal skills.

Willy Bach said: “It is wonderful to see these young people growing in character through the discipline of sport. Already these sessions are making a difference to how they see themselves and the world around them.

“This programme has achieved significant success elsewhere in engaging with hard-to-reach groups and I’m very grateful for the time and energy being invested by these volunteers to help young people achieve their goals.

“Positive encouragement is vital to crime prevention. I have high hopes for the project and look forward to seeing the results of this work in the future.”

Find out more about the project here.

Victim Gateway service secures £2.2m investment

A tailored service which helps victims in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent recover from the impact of crime and the harm they have experienced has secured an investment of £2,247,000 over the next three years.

Commissioned by PFCC Matthew Ellis, The Victim Gateway service forms part of an integrated system of support which is accessible, simple to navigate and prevents victims having to repeat their story on multiple occasions. Staffordshire was the first area in the country to pioneer the unique CAB-led approach in 2015.

PFCC Matthew Ellis said: ‘These services are so, so important. We must make it easier for victims to get the support they need, when they need it.

‘The focus on ensuring that victims and their families are supported in a way that recognises their individual circumstances and needs, and places them at the very heart of the criminal justice process, is crucial and right. That is what we are doing.’

Find out more about the Victim Gateway service here.

 

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