Victim Satisfaction on the Up in Gwent
The Commissioner today revealed figures for the 12 months ending June 2015 which show a 3.1% increase in the 'overall satisfaction' of crime victims in the service they receive in comparison with the previous year (from 78.0% to 81.2%). Gwent Police's own internal figures also show that public confidence in the Force has increased by 4% in the last year.
The satisfaction of victims of crime has previously been highlighted as an area of improvement by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). The latest figures announced by the Commissioner today reveal there is currently a positive upward trend in victim satisfaction across Gwent, especially around victims being kept informed and the treatment they receive from the Police.
The Commissioner has credited the improvement to some major programmes of work which he and his office have developed and delivered by working with partners in the community. He has also attributed the increase to the work of Gwent Police in ensuring officers provide the right support required by victims of crime.
Ian Johnston was one of the first PCCs in the UK to launch a Victims Charter in 2013 which has been adopted by the Force and outlines the minimum standard of service victims in the criminal justice process in Gwent can expect.
Since October last year, the majority of support services to victims which were traditionally provided at a national level by the Government are now provided at a local level by PCCs. In Gwent, the most significant piece of work in this area came to fruition in April 2015 when the Commissioner launched Connect Gwent, a brand new multi-agency service which aims to provide positive and lasting support to victims of crime. The early signs are more than encouraging with victim referrals to Connect Gwent increasing by nearly 1,000 in only two months (up from 1,326 referrals in Feb 2015 to 2,295 in May 2015) which means that more victims of crime in Gwent are now accessing this new and enhanced provision.
In November 2014, the Commissioner also supported and endorsed the launch of Gwent Police's CARES service standard and victims' booklet. CARES aims to ensure officers identify the level of support required by a victim of crime to ensure that the support provided meets the victims' needs. The project has impacted positively on victim satisfaction and ensures that they are well informed about the progression of their particular case.
Mr Johnston also introduced the Community Remedy in October 2014 which is designed to give victims of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) more of a say in the punishment of offenders out of court.
These measures are a faster and more flexible way of dealing with low level crime and disorder. The offender has to face the consequences of their actions which again impacts on the satisfaction of victims. So far, 68 community resolutions have been used across Gwent for a variety of offences.
According to the Commissioner, his drive with the Chief Constable to improve crime data integrity and ensure crime is recorded ethically and accurately is also making a difference. Traditionally under reported crimes such as violence, including domestic violence, are now being reported because people have the confidence to do so and they know they will be dealt with appropriately.
Delighted to see such a big improvement in victim satisfaction and public confidence, Mr Johnston said: "I have been very clear from the outset that we must put victims at the heart of everything we do. It's been a long road and a huge amount of work has been undertaken by my team and the Force in relation to improving victim satisfaction and public confidence.
I am assured that the implementation of these changes have contributed significantly towards providing more of a victim focussed approach and that this has translated directly into an improvement in public confidence in the service we provide.
By working closely with the force and other partners in the community, we have been able to put a range of projects and initiatives in place which have enhanced the quality of service provision for all victims of crime here in Gwent and I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and professionalism in putting things in place during these times of austerity.
Whilst the direction of travel continues to improve, the Chief Constable and I both realise that it needs to improve even further and are fully committed to doing so. I would like to reassure the people of Gwent that I will continue to monitor the performance of the Force in this area to ensure they receive the best quality of service available."