It has been a long-standing government objective to provide victims and witnesses of crime with the best service and support possible.
2006 saw the introduction of the first “Code of practice for victims of crime” detailing entitlements and minimum standards victims of crime can expect to receive. Since then, the government has introduced a national Victim’s Commissioner, published the “Witness charter” detailing standards of care for witnesses of crime and given responsibility for commissioning support services to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).
2018 saw the publication of the government’s “Victim strategy” aiming to make national improvements for victims. The strategy acknowledges issues of awareness, accessibility, understanding and delivery of the Victims code. It also identifies the need for a full review of the Victims code, for improvements in compliance and the need to bring forward proposals for a consultation on the detail of the Victims’ Law.
2019 saw the publication of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) strategy 2019-2021 and 2020 the publication of the Victims’ Commissioner - Victims Statistics Bulletin 2020, which confirmed that large numbers of victims and witnesses were still unaware of the Victim Code/Witness Charter and were dissatisfied as to how their cases were handled and or how well they were kept informed.
Throughout this time, our approach has always been progressive and forward thinking. We have undergone significant change, developing and improving our approach to policing. We have embedded nationally recognised culture and values in order to achieve our essential aims of:
- providing a first-class service
- putting victims and witnesses at the heart of everything we do
- ensuring we do the right thing
In 2017, we introduced “New horizon” a ground-breaking, transformational policing model, placing vulnerability and victims at the centre. We have revised our approach to crime recording, resulting in national grading of “outstanding” for our crime data integrity. We have also invested in our force control room and investigation management unit, resulting in significant improvements in call handling.
In April 2019, we introduced our “Quality Policing Programme” in order to increase performance delivery in key areas of crime reporting, crime investigation and prosecution of offenders. Led by the Deputy Chief Constable, Mr Blaker, this framework has introduced a “victim and witness champion,” quality performance managers, vulnerability hubs and victim based crime teams. Using our culture and values, these measures are helping our staff continually put victims and witnesses at the heart of everything.
The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr Matthew Scott has overall responsibility for ensuring the communities needs are met. His office is responsible for holding our chief constable to account and monitoring victim code compliance. His office sets the Safer in Kent community safety and justice plan within which, our number one priority is to put victims first. Part of the plan’s objectives is to improve services for victims of crime and abuse and invest in schemes that make people safer and reduce re-offending.