Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has welcomed the latest report from Derbyshire Constabulary highlighting the positive results of her focus on enhancing victim support and preventing reoffending.
The provision of quality services to victims of crime and safeguarding for those at risk of becoming a victim is a key priority in the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan, launched in 2021.
In delivering her 2023-24 budget, the Commissioner agreed to a raft of new resources and operational changes to further improve services for victims of crime and disrupt the activities of repeat offenders.
During her latest Performance Scrutiny Meeting (PSM), the Commissioner was presented with detailed evidence on how the force is performing against her Police and Crime Plan priority to improve Victim Support and Safeguarding. Performance Scrutiny Meetings have a key role as the Commissioner holds the Chief Constable to account for police performance.
The report from the Chief Constable showed the improved standards put in place to increase communication with victims of crime. This includes new guidance to Case Officers to contact victims of crime every ten days.
In other improvements, the force said advanced analytical capability is helping officers to better identify the level of threat in Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) cases so they can safeguard victims earlier. Additionally, new Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) investigation teams launched in January have increased referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service for early advice by 44 percent.
The force is also now outperforming the national average in the time it takes to charge an offender at 234 days compared to 346 days (England and Wales).
In further progress, officers are now routinely deployed to all residential burglaries with victims automatically referred to victim services for short and long-term support and advice if required.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Victims of crime and violence deserve the highest level of protection and support.
“Since my election, victims have remained a core focus. I have funded significant extra resources to ensure they receive quality support in a timely and sensitive manner. I have also worked hard to ensure officers identify high-risk situations or threats to safety at the earliest opportunity to prevent further harm.
“I am pleased these new systems are well-embedded and that enhanced investigative capabilities are enabling the force to bring more offenders to justice. Such improvements are vital to increasing confidence amongst victims that the police take these crimes extremely seriously and will safeguard them effectively.
“The report shows progress being made to tackle reoffending. The force has proactively trialled a range of new approaches to improve the monitoring of high-risk offenders, particularly where alcohol or drugs are a factor. While these are at an early stage, such interventions are designed to address the root causes of offending and deliver long-term behavioural change.
“The Chief Constable has confirmed her commitment to ensuring that officers and staff continue to work tirelessly to support victims and bring offenders to justice. This will help encourage more people to report crime in the future. There is always more to do, and I will continue to monitor this area of work closely over the next 12 months to build on this performance further.”
PSMs were launched by the Commissioner as a platform to monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of policing services to the public and to hold the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of her Police and Crime Plan priorities.
Key highlights of progress against Victim Support and Safeguarding include:
- The force is in the process of securing funding for the development of a Victims’ App to allow direct access and contact through a chat portal for those victims whose cases are within the court system. The force is set to share details with the Home Office on the scheme to support national best practice.
- New grading processes are in place to measure the response times of police officers to all incidents. The system allows for appointments to be created for priority incidents which can be dealt with via telephone or video call. A new Incident Management Team has been created to deal with all domestic abuse incidents to ensure there are no delays in addressing risk.
- The force has established a Strategic Improving Investigations Board, chaired by the Head of Crime, which is focused on improving the quality of investigations into VAWG offences to achieve the best results for victims.
- A Most Appropriate Agency Policy has been introduced to ensure the public receives the right care from the right person rather than a police officer. This has saved more than a thousand hours per month of officer time and many hours of operator and dispatcher time within the Contact Management department.
- The force operates an Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Programme to monitor the offenders who pose the greatest risk of further offending. The force, supported by the Commissioner, has invested in two additional IOM co-ordinators who will be co-located within the force’s Neighbourhood Acquisitive Crime Teams (NACT), and along with continued use of electronic monitoring, will provide additional capacity to reduce re-offending.
- Since May 2023, the IOM is collaborating with other forces in the region to use voluntary remote alcohol monitoring tags. The ankle tags measure the level of alcohol in the wearer’s system every 30 minutes as a tool to reduce offending where alcohol is a driver.
- The force has become only the second in Europe to use a facial recognition remote breathalyser device to again monitor the level of alcohol in a user’s system to help effectively manage offenders in the community.
The public are invited to send topical questions to the Commissioner ahead of the meeting. The responses, from the force and Commissioner, are given during the meeting and posted on the Commissioner’s website, alongside a video of the full meeting which can be found here: https://bit.ly/PSM110723.
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