Tag Archives: Police and Crime Commissioners

“Autumn Budget must set clear direction for police funding” asserts Police Federation chairman

Amid all the talk and speculation on what will be contained in today’s Autumn Budget, the Chancellor Philip Hammond must set clear direction for police funding to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to keep the public safe. This is the view of Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, who believes the current year-by-year approach to police budgets is inefficient and gives Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and chief constables little ability to effectively plan ahead.

“Chiefs and PCCs need to know what they’re going to get, not just next year, but in years two, three, four and five in order for them to properly plan,” said White. “The Government is already clear that policing needs to be even more efficient, but reform with at least a five-year funding strategy is needed for it to be sustainable.”

White echoed many in policing who have challenged the Government’s view that police budgets have been ‘protected’ between 2015 and 2020. “It’s all very well for politicians to say that funding is being protected, but the reality is there for all to see,” urged White. “The amount of money that police forces have to play with has gone down because inflation has gone up. It’s simple maths.”

The Police Federation’s chairman also challenged the idea that forces can simply tap in to reserves to plug the gap following recent comments made by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Joint Summit.

Steve White

Steve White: chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales

“Of course forces have to keep something in reserve because they don’t know what’s around the corner or coming down the line in the next 12 months.”

However, White does appreciate the need for chief constables and PCCs to make clear to Government how additional funding would be spent, not just why it’s required. “There’s an opportunity for police leaders to provide a credible, evidence -based argument about why these additional resources are needed and where they would go.”

Finally, White made clear that PCCs, alongside chief constables, must challenge the Government for clear direction on police funding if it’s not forthcoming.

“If the Chancellor doesn’t set out any clear direction for police funding, PCCs and chief constables must put the pressure on Government to address this in the immediacy. If this doesn’t happen, officers and police staff will suffer with continued uncertainty and, ultimately, the public will suffer as well.”

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ICO Blog: ‘An updated CCTV Code of Practice fit for 2014 and beyond’

Jonathan Bamford – head of strategic liaison at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – discusses the ICO’s updated CCTV Code of Practice and outlines why a revised Code is required to meet the demands of modern society.

It’s nearly five months since I last wrote about the importance of having a CCTV Code fit for the demands of modern society. At that time the draft version of the Code was out for consultation. Now, all of your comments have been considered and our updated CCTV guidance is available on the ICO’s website.

The updated CCTV Code is one that’s truly fit for the times in which we live. The days of CCTV being limited to a video camera on a pole are long gone. Our new Code reflects the latest advances in surveillance technologies and their implementation, while also explaining the key data protection issues that those operating the equipment need to understand.

So what’s changed? Well, in some respects it’s a case of ‘keep calm and carry on’. The fundamental principles that need to be followed remain the same. People must be informed about the information being collected about them with relevant use of privacy notices and signage where required. The information also needs to be kept secure so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and effective retention and disposal schedules must be in place to make sure information is only kept for as long as necessary before it’s securely destroyed.

The ICO has updated its CCTV Code of Practice

The ICO has updated its CCTV Code of Practice

However, the Code must reflect the times. The pace of technological change since our CCTV guidance was last updated in 2008 – let alone when it was first published some 14 years ago – has been considerable. These advances bring with them new opportunities and challenges for making sure the technology continues to be used in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

One common theme from the enforcement action we’ve taken in relation to the use of surveillance cameras is that there needs to be a thorough privacy impact assessment. This needs to be conducted before deploying these increasingly powerful and potentially intrusive technologies. The Code will help operators to stay on the right side of the law and save them from wasting money and resources on non-compliant systems.

New and emerging surveillance technologies

The new and emerging technologies section of the updated Code covers the key surveillance technologies that we believe will become increasingly popular in the years ahead.

A number of organisations are starting to use body-worn video. These small, inconspicuous devices can record both sound and images. This can mean that they are capable of being much more intrusive than traditional town centre CCTV. On that basis, their use needs to be well justified with safeguards put in place such as to ensure they are not used when they’re not needed. There must be strong security in case the devices fall into the wrong hands. The Code details specific guidance to help deal with the challenges of using these new devices.

The guidance also considers technologies that are not currently commonplace, but which may prove increasingly popular in future. Just last month, the Civil Aviation Authority released figures showing that over 300 companies have now been given permission to operate UAS (Unmanned Aerial Surveillance) in the UK. This figure has risen by a third within the last 12 months alone. Many of these devices can now be bought for a few hundred pounds and can record imagery. There’s important guidance on how they can be used by organisations to record personal information.

Recreational users are also encouraged to operate UAS responsibly. For example, recording should be restricted and only carried out in controlled areas where people are informed that monitoring may be taking place. It’s important that organisations understand these obligations at an early stage if they’re to remain on the right side of the law.

Jonathan Bamford: head of strategic liaison at the ICO

Jonathan Bamford: head of strategic liaison at the ICO

The updated CCTV Code also addresses long-standing issues where the consultation responses have shown that further clarification of the law is required. One such issue is the need for operators to comply with subject access requests. These requests are an important right enshrined in the Data Protection Act and allow individuals to request a record of any personal information that an organisation holds about them. This includes CCTV footage capturing their image.

However, these requests have been causing a great deal of confusion, particularly for smaller operators unaware of this area of the law. The new CCTV guide includes an expanded section explaining how these requests should be handled, when the information should be given out and details of the statutory deadline of 40 days by which time operators have to provide a full response.

Complementing the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice

We’ve designed our guidance to complement the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice published under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The Surveillance Camera Code’s ‘Guiding Principles’ apply to police forces, Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities in England and Wales as described in the Act, and contain advice about recommended operational and technical standards that others may find useful.

The technology may change but the principles of the Data Protection Act remain the same. CCTV and other surveillance systems need to be proportionate, justifiable and secure in order to be compliant.

The updated ICO Code will help to make sure that this situation continues for the years ahead.

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BSIA CEO James Kelly promotes security sector’s agenda during political party conference season

With party political conference season now upon us, the British Security Industry Association has been busy championing the views of the private security industry, planning and attending meetings with MPs, Ministers, Peers, Police and Crime Commissioners and representatives of Think Tanks at the Labour Party Conference (currently underway in Manchester) and for the Conservative Party Conference beginning next week.

At the forefront of the British Security Industry Association’s (BSIA) agenda is the ongoing issue of business licensing and regulation, with discussions also set to focus on garnering support for grant funding that will allow businesses to export to growing markets around the world.

Also on the agenda is the BSIA’s latest research into the number and scope of CCTV cameras in the UK and how the Association’s findings relate to the Government’s CCTV Code of Practice.

With such a wide array of meetings planned, the BSIA’s CEO James Kelly will be championing the views of the Association’s members while simultaneously raising awareness among Parliamentarians of the industry and the challenges it currently faces.

In reference to regulation, Kelly commented: “The Government has failed to identify a legislative vehicle by which to enact these changes, in turn placing the original implementation target of 2015 in real jeopardy. As part of the Security Regulation Alliance, the BSIA has been at the heart of these negotiations and still hopes that the industry can achieve clarity on a future regulatory regime within the current Parliament.”

The BSIA will be driving the security industry's key messaging during the party political conference season

The BSIA will be driving the security industry’s key messaging during the party political conference season

Support for the BSIA’s cause has been pledged by members across all parties as well as a significant number of Police and Crime Commissioners, many of whom use private security companies to provide back office support to their police forces, in turn allowing officers to spend more time on front line duties and less time focused on paperwork.

Increased contact with Parliamentarians

This year’s conference season sees the BSIA almost double its contact with Parliamentarians when compared to previous years, with many MPs set to receive their first ever briefing on the work of the BSIA and the industry.

Among those set to meet with James Kelly are Baroness Smith of Basildon, Jack Dromey (Shadow Home Affairs Minister for Private Security), Owen Paterson (Shadow Minister for Policing and previously Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and David T.C. Davies, Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

In addition to meetings with politicians, many discussions have been arranged with Police and Crime Commissioners from across the country. Reflecting on this point, Kelly added: “The standards set and maintained by industry regulation and licensing are key to the ability of police forces across the UK to place their trust in private security suppliers. It’s essential that the future regulatory regime continues to provide this element of reassurance.”

James Kelly: CEO at the BSIA

James Kelly: CEO at the BSIA

This message will be enforced when meeting with PCCs to ensure that the partnerships between BSIA member companies and various police forces are actively promoted for the benefits they undoubtedly realise.

In conclusion, James Kelly explained: “With the 2015 General Election just around the corner, it’s important that the BSIA continues to engage with all parties to ensure that our industry is fully represented in the crucial policy development period running up to the vote. The BSIA is extremely proud of its role as the voice of the UK’s private security industry, and we’re looking forward to building upon our success at conference by actively representing our members’ needs.”

To find out more about the BSIA’s political work and lobbying visit: http://www.bsia.co.uk or follow the Public Affairs Team on twitter via: @bsiapolitics

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Home Secretary announces intention to merge blue light services

The need for further public sector spending cuts by the Government will mean integrating the police, fire and ambulance services such that the ‘still large fiscal deficit’ can be reduced, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced.

In a speech made at Think Tank Reform on 3 September, the Home Secretary stated: “With a still large deficit and a record stock of debt, there will need to be further spending cuts. In the policing landscape of the future, I believe we will need to work towards the integration of the three emergency services.”

May said that the next and “even tougher” challenge is “how we can reduce demand for public services through smarter policy. The need to go on reforming will not end with this Parliament.”

It’s thought that while front line services may not change, there could be ways in which to share back office functions and be located on the same site.

Some localities have already started to merge services. Theresa May referred to Northamptonshire, where Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds has launched joint operations planning teams involving both the police and fire services. Indeed, Simmonds has been a great supporter of integration and has spoken about the future possibility of sending just one emergency vehicle to the scene of an accident which would be equipped to deal with a variety of situations.

Earlier this year, (then) fire minister Brandon Lewis outlined some examples of where plans to share blue light services have been put in place in order to save money. These included a predicted saving of £4 million in Hampshire where the police service, fire service and Hampshire County Council are sharing offices and a potential £3.5 million saving in Merseyside, where the fire and police services are planning to share a Control Room.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Cautious but firm approach needed

In an editorial following the Home Secretary’s announcement, The Guardian reported: “Although there are many successful examples of local collaboration – fire officers administering emergency First Aid, or police travelling in the same vehicle as firemen – the prospect of real integration sheds a cold light on existing management structures. The ambulance service has been (painfully) consolidated into ten regional trusts which would not lightly be levered out of the NHS in the name of integration. However, there are still 43 resolutely unconsolidated police services and 46 fire and rescue services, with 46 different governance, organisational and operational structures. While deaths from fire in the home are, happily, at a record low, the number of fire-fighters and the cost of running the fire service remains the same.”

Graham Ellicott, CEO of the Fire Industry Association (FIA), commented: “Any integration or consolidation of the blue light services will undoubtedly be difficult and a cautious but firm approach will likely be needed. However, before any approach is attempted the FIA believes that it would be prudent to try and bring more consistency to the operation of English Fire and Rescue Services.”

Graham Ellicott: CEO at the FIA

Graham Ellicott: CEO at the FIA

Elaborating on this last point, Ellicott explained: “For example, each of the 46 services operates a different attendance policy when it comes to automatic fire alarm systems. Surely in the 21st Century there could be more consistency brought to this situation, particularly so given that Primary Authority Schemes have now been extended to fire. Such schemes offer assured advice from one Fire and Rescue Authority to a business that operates across more than one local authority area.”

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BSIA Chairman Pauline Norstrom outlines aims for the security sector

Newly-elected British Security Industry Association chairman Pauline Norstrom has marked her appointment with a focus on raising stakeholders’ awareness of the value of quality and innovation over price.

In an inaugural address to British Security Industry Association (BSIA) members and industry stakeholders (delivered at the Association’s Annual Luncheon in July, which was sponsored by Eaton’s security business), Norstrom outlined goals for her two-year tenure as chairman, citing economic recovery and international demand for UK products and services as key drivers of industry growth.

Speaking at London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, Norstrom said: “Moving forward, my vision is to cultivate an increased understanding of – and engagement with – our industry’s customers. It’s crucial to our members’ future success that we invite end users to input into influencing the issues that affect them. This will ensure that the products and services offered by our industry meet their needs and deliver a return on investment.”

Pauline Norstrom delivers the Chairman's Address at the 2014 BSIA Annual Luncheon

Pauline Norstrom delivers the Chairman’s Address at the 2014 BSIA Annual Luncheon

Norstrom continued: “Increased engagement with end users will help members to drive demand by navigating the specification and tender process to their advantage, demonstrating the value of quality to ensure that BSIA membership becomes a key requirement in the competitive process and further enables members to compete with and win against competitors who do not care about quality and instead undercut on price at any cost.”

Other aims outlined include presiding over the development and introduction of a dedicated section of membership for industry stakeholders before the end of 2014.

Paying tribute to outgoing BSIA chairman Geoff Zeidler, who was seated at the top table, Norstrom described the “significant progress that the Association has made towards creating a better industry environment for its members through the influence of legislation, regulation and the development of standards” and added: “Throughout his two years as chairman, my predecessor Geoff Zeidler has worked tirelessly to ensure that the BSIA is best placed to achieve its goals.”

Requirement for political engagement

With less than a year until the next General Election, political engagement for the BSIA is also on Norstrom’s mind. Forging new relationships with key political figures including MPs, Peers, Police and Crime Commissioners, local Government officials and Think Tanks remains a priority for the Association’s busy public affairs programme over the coming months.

Left to Right: Baroness Smith of Basildon, Pauline Norstrom and James Kelly

Left to Right: Baroness Smith of Basildon, Pauline Norstrom and James Kelly

An issue close to Pauline’s own heart and reflective of her well-respected position as a key influencer in the CCTV sector is ensuring that the BSIA continues to influence further development of the Government’s CCTV Code of Practice.

The launch in 2013 of the BSIA’s own research into the number and scope of CCTV cameras in the UK succeeded in positioning the Association as the key authority on the subject, while emphasising the important role that privately-owned systems play in supporting the police service and the criminal justice system in securing high profile prosecutions.

In the coming year, Norstrom predicts the Code of Practice will reach even further, supported by the BSIA’s own Code of Practice (Form 109) with which members must comply.

As Chief Operating Officer of Dedicated Micros and the wider AD Group (comprising 18-plus companies), Norstrom has 15 years’ experience in the industry and possesses extensive knowledge of legislation and technical innovation. In her role as chairman of the BSIA, Norstrom chairs the Association’s Council and the Operating Board.

Norstrom is a long-serving member of the BSIA’s CCTV Section and works closely with the Association’s CEO James Kelly to form strategic objectives for the BSIA.

Norstrom will now serve as BSIA chairman for a two-year period, and will be supported in the first year by Geoff Zeidler as immediate past-chairman.

*Read the full speech on page 19 of the August edition of Risk UK

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Security partnerships “delivering savings to the police service”

Continued partnership working between the police service and the UK’s private sector security companies has helped forces across the country reduce costs in the face of public sector budget cuts.

In a report published earlier this week by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), police forces’ responses to budget cuts were praised, while concerns have been raised around the impact on neighbourhood policing.

Responding to the HMIC document, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) – the Trade Association representing the UK’s private security industry – is reinforcing the important role played by security companies in delivering cost savings to forces across the country.

Since 2011, police forces have had to find £2.5 billion worth of cuts, while the central Government funding grant for police forces in England and Wales was reduced by 20%. Rising to the challenge, forces’ response to these cuts has been rated either ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ in the HMIC report.

Continued partnership working between the police and private security firms has helped forces across the country reduce costs in the face of public sector budget cuts

Continued partnership working between the police and private security firms has helped forces across the country reduce costs in the face of public sector budget cuts

Providing support services and performing back office functions are key ways in which private sector security companies help to drive efficiencies by freeing-up warranted police officers to return to front line duties. HMIC’s report highlights a projected reduction in the police workforce of up to 34,000 by March 2015, by which time there will also be 8,500 fewer front line police officers. Despite this, efficiency is on the rise, with the proportion of police officers in front line roles set to increase from 89% to 92%.

Zoe Billingham – Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary – commented: “It’s not easy to provide the high quality police service that the public rightly demands with far less money. Forces have had to change how they do their business. The best of them understand their demand in a sophisticated way and target their resources well, working with local public sector organisations to reduce crime and collaborate with other partners to cut costs.”

Indeed, many members of the BSIA already collaborate with police forces to provide a range of services, from victim support provided by personal safety devices through to ‘street-to-suite’ custodial services (the latter have been proven to save 350 hours of front line police time across an eight-week trial period).

Concerns over neighbourhood policing

Meanwhile, concerns over neighbourhood policing are also allayed by private security involvement. One member of the BSIA has supported the police in driving down anti-social behaviour by conducting park patrols in Manchester, for example, while another member company provides additional support for the police service in one of London’s busiest shopping destinations, namely Carnaby Street.

Most recently, seven BSIA member companies were selected to support the policing function at this month’s Commonwealth Games, which is now underway to great acclaim in Glasgow.

Encouraging more police forces to consider further engagement with private security firms is key to enabling those forces to meet the ongoing demands they face in light of budget cuts.

James Kelly: CEO at the BSIA

James Kelly: CEO at the BSIA

BSIA CEO James Kelly stated: “It’s not about creating a privatised police force, as many opponents of partnership working would have us believe. In contrast, this is a case of private industry taking on support functions to aid the police in delivering the Government’s programme of reform.”

Kelly continued: “The security industry already contributes significantly when it comes to assisting the police and emergency services if called upon to do so. Through its dedicated public affairs programme, the BSIA will continue to engage with police forces, Police and Crime Commissioners and Parliamentarians in order to ensure that political thinking remains open to this diverse and innovative approach.”

Robbie Calder – chairman of the BSIA’s dedicated Police and Public Services Section – said: “Police reform simply cannot be delivered without the support of private sector security companies. Many of the core aims of police forces would be difficult to achieve without outsourcing at least some support functions to the domain of the private sector.”

To find out more about the BSIA and its Police and Public Services Section visit: http://www.bsia.co.uk/police-and-public-services

The HMIC’s report, entitled ‘Policing in Austerity: Meeting the Challenge’ can be viewed online: http://www.hmic.gov.uk/publication/policing-in-austerity-meeting-the-challenge/

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Victim Support appoints Mark Castle OBE as next CEO

Victim Support has appointed Mark Castle OBE to be its next CEO, with Castle taking up the role in June.

Mark Castle OBE is currently CEO at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and was previously CEO at the Association of Police Authorities (APA).

Castle joined the APA directly from the Army following a 31-year career which included deployments to Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq where he commanded British forces on stabilisation and reconstruction operations.

Castle was awarded the OBE in 2004 and later roles included redeveloping Army corporate communications and personnel strategy.

In his final Army role, Castle mentored Iraqi Interior Ministry forces and worked closely with local police advising them on measures designed to boost confidence and tackle corruption.

Victim Support: the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales

Victim Support: the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales

As CEO of the APCC, Castle secured funding from all 41 Police and Crime Commissioners following their elections in 2012.

He currently holds positions in key agencies across the criminal justice system including the College of Policing.

Knowledge of the criminal justice system

Chairman of Victim Support’s Trustees, Enid Rowlands, said: “We are delighted that Mark is joining Victim Support. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge about the criminal justice system, and the many recent changes to it. He also has vast experience of frontline service delivery. We are confident that his vision, energy and leadership will drive our charity onto even greater success in the future.”

Speaking about his new role, Mark Castle OBE commented: “I am honoured to be joining Victim Support on its historic mission to provide practical help and emotional support to victims and witnesses of crime. I have seen first-hand the devastating impact crime and lawlessness can have on people and communities, and the value of prompt and effective help. I look forward to meeting the staff and volunteers who I know do so much to help people in need.”

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BRC Retail Crime Survey 2013: ‘Concerns growing over increase in shop theft’

This year’s British Retail Consortium (BRC) Retail Crime Survey has revealed that UK retailers are fighting a rising tide of theft in store.

Last year saw the highest level of theft for nine years and the average value of theft increased by 62% to £177 per incident, indicating that stealing is becoming more sophisticated and well-planned.

Criminal activity by a very small minority is having an impact on businesses, employees and the vast majority of honest shoppers.

Despite retailers investing an average of £2 million each on crime and loss prevention measures, they need help and support. Police and Crime Commissioners should follow the lead set in London and work with retailers to build dedicated business crime strategies to help defeat this growing problem.

Direct cost of retail crime up to £511 million

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Theft from stores pushed the direct cost of retail crime up to £511 million last year, 166% higher than five years ago. Far from being victimless, we all pay for this increased stealing through higher prices and, increasingly, shop closures and damage to town centres as safety is reduced and communities are blighted.”

Helen Dickinson: director general at the BRC

Helen Dickinson: director general at the BRC

Dickinson added: “Last year, we also saw a dramatic increase in fraud and e-crime with eight-in-ten retailers reporting a rise in fraud and the majority of retailers telling us that cyber attacks pose a critical threat to their business. Combined with the increase in organised theft, this means that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal.”

The BRC’s leader continued: “We want to work closely with Police and Crime Commissioners and the new National Crime Agency and National Cyber Crime Unit to fight this serious crime, from fraud through to theft and on to cyber attacks. Our engagement has been positive so far, but it’s still early days and it’s important that they implement measures such as single points of contact and create dedicated business crime strategies.”

Single, national definition for business crime

The BRC survey recommends that there should be a single, national definition for business crime in the UK to help measure and solve these problems.

Police forces should routinely publish business crime data, share that information with retailers and work in partnership to combat crime.

In partnership, retailers, the police and Government can build on the introduction of the National Crime Agency and National Cyber Crime Unit to help retailers combat this growing problem.

These changes will not only fight crime, but also boost confidence and help to tackle the under-reporting problem that led to only one-in-ten thefts being reported last year.

Other key findings of the survey

It’s estimated there were 2.7 million offences against retailers in 2012-2013, directly adding £511 million to retailers’ costs.

Robberies were up 48%, but burglaries fell by 49% compared to last year. Despite the number of burglaries falling, the cost of each incident rose from £1,730 to £2,067.

The average cost per incident of criminal damage jumped by 114% in 2012-2013, from £962 to £2,062.

Downloaded the BRC Retail Crime Survey 2013

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Victim Support celebrates 40 years of helping the victims of crime

Victim Support began celebrating 40 years of helping the victims of crime on New Year’s Day.

The occasion was marked with a feature which ran across the BBC, including BBC Breakfast and the News Channel. More than half a million people also heard about the anniversary through social media channels.

From humble beginnings as a local community project, Victim Support has grown into the world’s biggest charity for victims and witnesses. It now contacts more than one million victims of crime every year and helps more than 200,000 people giving evidence in court.

New analysis of Victim Support’s records shows an estimated 55,000 people have volunteered for the charity over the years, which has helped or contacted at least 30 million victims of crime.

Tributes to the organisation

Leading figures from the criminal justice system have paid tribute to the immense contribution made by Victim Support’s staff and volunteers over the last four decades.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: “We know that participation in the criminal justice system can be daunting for both victims and witnesses. Victim Support provides an essential service, not only by supporting victims of crime and helping witnesses give evidence in court through its volunteer-led Witness Service, but also in ensuring their voices are heard across the system.”

Alison Saunders: Director of Public Prosecutions

Alison Saunders: Director of Public Prosecutions

Saunders continued: “As DPP, I am committed to making victims’ experiences easier and better and the work of Victim Support is invaluable to the CPS’ efforts to achieve this. I am grateful to Victim Support for its role in representing the views of victims and witnesses, and we will continue to work closely with the organisation to ensure the CPS continues to improve the service we provide to those unfortunate enough to find themselves victims of crime.”

Sir Hugh Orde – President of the Association of Chief Police Officers – said: “Victim Support has made a vital and often unsung difference to the lives of so many victims and witnesses of crime over the past 40 years. The hard work and dedication of staff and volunteers, who give up their time for free, has helped thousands to negotiate what can be an extremely traumatic and confusing process.”

ACPO's president Sir Hugh Orde

ACPO’s president Sir Hugh Orde

ACPO’s leader continued: “Third sector partners like Victim Support make an invaluable contribution in improving the experiences of victims and witnesses and driving up their confidence in the criminal justice system as a whole. The police service will continue to work closely with Victim Support to ensure that victims and witnesses of crime receive the best possible help and support.”

Lifeline for more than one million victims

Tony Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester and chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: “Victim Support provides a lifeline to more than a million victims each year. Without volunteers willing to give up their own time to offer help and support to people at what is a very distressing time, Victim Support wouldn’t be able to provide this invaluable service. The organisations makes a real difference.”

Lloyd went on to state: “Organisations like Victim Support give victims a voice in the criminal justice system and it’s vital that we work with them to improve the service we provide to victims and witnesses and make sure their needs are at the centre of everything we do.”

Anti-knife crime campaigner Brooke Kinsella MBE, who became Victim Support’s Ambassador last year, said: “Victim Support was there for me and my family when we needed them most. I can honestly say that we couldn’t have got through the experience without them. The volunteer who helped us made such a difference to our lives with his kindness, patience and strength. So much more than a shoulder to cry on, he was truly a lifeline for us in the darkest of times.”

Brooke Kinsella MBE

Brooke Kinsella MBE

“I’m so proud to be an ambassador for Victim Support as the organisation celebrates its 40th Anniversary, and want to take this opportunity to thank all of their staff and volunteers, past and present – from the bottom of my heart – for the amazing job they have done and continue to do.”

Celebratory events in the pipeline

Victim Support will be acknowledging the vital contribution of volunteers and staff old and new by way of a series of celebratory events over the coming months.

The last 40 years has seen Victim Support make huge strides – developing from supporting victims of crimes such as theft, to very serious crimes, including homicide, rape and emerging crimes such as human trafficking.

It has also set up national services to support more than 200,000 victims and witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales each year, as well as a national service to help families bereaved by homicide.

Some of the vital specialist work Victim Support now carries out includes anti-social behaviour and domestic violence projects, restorative justice programmes and preventative work in schools warning about the dangers of getting involved in gangs.

Javed Khan: CEO at Victim Support

Javed Khan: CEO at Victim Support

Victim Support’s CEO Javed Khan said: “We are told day in and day out that the work of our staff and volunteers makes a real difference to many, many people’s lives, and we are very proud of that. Much of our work wouldn’t be possible without our 5,600 dedicated volunteers, whose time alone is estimated to be worth £21 million. They are the backbone of Victim Support and I cannot thank them enough for their tireless efforts.”

Khan continued: “Over the last 40 years, more than 55,000 people have volunteered for the charity. It is one of the most rewarding contributions that anyone can make, and we are always welcoming new volunteers. If you want to help victims cope and recover then please get in touch with Victim Support.”

In conclusion, Khan stated: “There’s no better opportunity than this 40th Anniversary to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to those who have made us what we are today, and continue to provide a world class service to victims and witnesses of crime. We are always mindful that the work we do needs to keep evolving, and we look forward to continuing to do all that we can to ensure victims’ needs are placed at the forefront of the criminal justice process.”

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Policing Minister announces £20 million funding for PCCs

Policing Minister Damian Green today announced that £20 million will be made available to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to pay for new ideas.

The Government previously said a Police Innovation Fund worth up to £50 million a year would be established from 2014-2015, but £20 million will shortly be made available as a ‘precursor’ fund from which PCCs can bid for money to pay for proposals with the potential to improve policing and make it more efficient.

They could include ideas for forces to collaborate or invest in modern digital technology.

The announcement was made today at an event in London where PCCs gathered to mark the anniversary of their first year in office.

Policing Minister Damian Green

Policing Minister Damian Green

Green said: “I know that many of you have been asking for more details on the Police Innovation Fund. This fund will incentivise collaboration, support improved digital working and enable PCCs to invest in a range of other innovative delivery approaches that have the potential to improve policing and deliver further efficiency.”

The MP added: “Innovation shouldn’t have to wait. We know PCCs are keen to access this funding now in order to press ahead with transformation in their forces. So today I’m pleased to announce that, ahead of the first full year of the fund, we will be making £20 million available to PCCs as a precursor Innovation Fund in this financial year.”

Green concluded: “We will be writing out with further details on the bidding process and criteria shortly, and I don’t think I will need to encourage you to consider putting forward bids.”

Today’s event was organised by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

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