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PCCs ‘Will Have Obligation To Victims’

Elected individuals will have to consult victims when setting policing priorities

Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will be required to act as a point of contact for a range of victims’ services in the force areas for which they are responsible.

In a statement, the Ministry of Justice pointed out that the individuals will be required to consult victims in setting policing priorities – as well as ensuring they have the help they need.

The department confirmed the PCCs will “commission emotional and practical support services” to assist those who have been affected by crime.

¬The needs of victims vary locally and PCCs, much more than central government, will be the best placed to decide what their communities want.¬

The support function will be assisted by £50 million windfall each year collected from offenders in fines and Fixed Penalty Notices – the majority of the cash will be made available to the elected individuals to spend on services in their force area.

The PCCs will also continue to benefit from the annual £66 million that central government already dedicates to services supporting victims and witnesses.

Under plans from the MoJ, the PCCs’ remit will help individuals recover from the consequences of crime as well as ensuring that services “meet local need, represent value for money and deliver satisfactory outcomes for victims”.

Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Nick Herbert (pictured) said the arrival of police and crime commissioners represented a milestone in the criminal justice system.

He told reporters after the announcement: “How victims are treated is essential to maintaining public trust in policing and the criminal justice system.

“That is why the government has decided that funding for a range of services will be devolved to elected and accountable police and crime commissioners.

“The needs of victims vary locally and PCCs, much more than central government, will be the best placed to decide what their communities want.”

As reported on PoliceOracle.com, the first elections for the new commissioners will take place in the 41 force areas across England and Wales on November 15.

The announcement that the elected individuals will have responsibility for victims’ services was welcomed by Simon Duckworth, the Chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Transitional Board.

He said: “Police and Crime Commissioners will now not only have a strong duty in law to listen to the needs of the victims of crime, but they will also be able to act on what victims say; influencing the police and other agencies to ensure that victims' needs are at the heart of the criminal justice system.”

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