London Assembly: Crime Victims ‘Deserve Better’

The Metropolitan Police have the worst victim satisfaction rating in the country, a London Assembly report revealed today.

The Police and Crime Committee report, Duty of Care: Improving support for Victims of Crime, says up to 115,000 victims of crime in the 12 months prior to June 2012 were dissatisfied with the performance of the police. The report also calls on the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to set tougher targets.

It’s hardly the most welcome of news for the Met, coming in the wake of MOPAC’s announcement that 65 police stations across London will be closed to save money and those soon-to-be missing front desks feature in the LA’s ten recommendations. You can read those recommendations in more detail on page 35 here, but to summarise:

  1. The Met should work with specialist support organisations to deliver training in victim care.
  2. The Met and MOPAC must maintain enough public access sites with appropriate facilities for crimes to be reported directly to the police (i.e. private rooms and language support services).
  3. The Met should work with victim support organisations to improve post-report follow up, particularly delivering communication in a sensitive way.
  4. Met and Victim Support to ensure victim data is accurate and can quickly be rectified if need be.
  5. London Criminal Justice Partnership to set up a task group working with victim support organisations to make victims’ ‘journey through the criminal justice system’ more efficient.
  6. MOPAC to develop priorities and guidelines on commissioning of victim care services and funding in line with support organisations’ concerns and victims’ needs.
  7. MOPAC to work with partner agencies to establish demand vs provision for the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service (IDVA) and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) and increase provision if needed.
  8. MOPAC to assess potential for the IDVA support model to be introduced for other types of victims, such as victims with learning disabilities, and consider this as a funding priority.
  9. MOPAC to set challenging annual targets for the Met to achieve the highest national rating for victim satisfaction by 2016.
  10. MOPAC to assess performance against these targets from the views of a wide range of victims and report on this on a quarterly basis.

What with the ongoing Plebgate investigation, complaints over officers’ racist behaviour, questions raised over sponsorship and phone hacking, the Met’s image has been somewhat tarnished. A series of cuts to the police budget hasn’t helped matters either and increasingly, the police find themselves the rope in a tug of war between paperwork, targets and providing adequate service to the public.

Lack of victim support isn’t a new problem — this 2010 report from Victim Support highlighted a lack of information and communication — and it could be said that the terms ‘victim’ and ‘satisfaction’ are mutually incompatible no matter what the Met do. Chair of the Police and Crime Committee Joanne McCartney AM said:

“Our investigation into the care and support offered to victims of crime shows that Londoners are not getting the service they deserve, nor that the police want to deliver. We are pleased that the Commissioner has shown his commitment to improving this vital area of performance by introducing the MPS Total Victim Care plan.

“But the Committee is concerned that the commitment to improving victim support could be undermined by the significant upheaval and budget cuts in the police service.”

Photo by HartwellPhotography.co.uk in the Londonist Flickr pool.

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