Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove is to carry out an independent review of London’s witness and victims services amid concerns that they’re letting down those who suffer and report crime.
Research shows the Met has the lowest victim satisfaction rating of any UK force.
Victims in London face the longest delays in getting their cases heard in court, and four in ten say the criminal justice system fails to provide the support they need.
The review has been ordered by Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, who heads the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).
MOPAC takes over responsibility for funding victim services from October 2014 and City Hall says it wants “fresh analysis” of how the services are performing to help inform future funding and commissioning decisions.
Announcing the review, Deputy Mayor Greenhalgh said: “I am delighted that the Victims’ Commissioner has agreed to lead this in-depth review of the services offered to victims and witnesses in London.
“The Metropolitan Police are taking important steps to improve the service they offer victims, but we need the whole criminal justice system to improve the support they provide. This review will shine a spotlight on current practice so we can identify where the gaps in services for victims are and make sure every victim is treated with dignity and respect”.
Baroness Newlove said she would ensure the views of “all service providers are heard” by her review.
She added: “Victims of crime should not be provided services based solely on crime types but on their individual needs. What I do know is that victims collectively want what is happening to them to stop and this review needs to focus on making this happen and supporting individual victims’ needs.”
Joanne McCartney, Chair of the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee, said the Assembly first raised concerns over the quality of services seven months ago.
She commented: ““Our report made ten recommendations to the Mayor and the Metropolitan Police for action to improve the care and treatment of victims .
“The Committee look forward to providing Baroness Newlove with our findings in the hope that the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime will now make improving such support an urgent priority.”
The review has been welcomed by Conservative London Assembly Member Tony Arbour, who recently published a report into failings in the courts service.
Mr Arbour said: “Proper support should be in place for victims and witnesses to help them through what is often a traumatic experience. Villains can only be swiftly brought to justice once we get the basics right and victims deserve nothing less.”