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Celebrating volunteers and putting victims first

Posted: Tuesday 10th June 2014
Blog: Blogs

Sue’s News – June    4, 2014

This week we have been celebrating volunteers week. It is really important to take the time to recognise and thank those that work in our organisations and community. I am lucky in this role to meet some amazing people who give up their time to help others and better our communities without pay or reward. So often, they are the gel in our communities

 I am also pleased to announce that the Neighbourhood Policing Awards will return once again. These awards are really special to officers and staff because they are the only awards within Avon and Somerset Constabulary where local people are asked to vote for officers, staff and volunteers and neighbourhood teams. It is a chance for residents to tell us about the fantastic work going on in their local communities, particularly examples of beat teams and neighbourhood officers tackle local issues and on occasions go above and beyond what is expected. It is really important that we get to hear about what is working in your community and where the police are making a difference. I am thankful for the Post in supporting the awards and giving readers the chance to share their nominations.

 We are gearing up for further celebrations, as we look to recognise 40 years of Avon and Somerset Constabulary with an open day at Police Headquarters on June 15. Over 2,000 tickets for the event sold out within hours. Given the demand for tickets I am sure we could have held open days all summer. While celebrating 40 years of policing, and the many milestones and achievements it is vital that we keep costs to a minimum. I am pleased to say that television presenter Philip Schofield has given his time for free. Recognising 40 years of Avon and Somerset Constabulary is a hugely nostalgic and proud time, not just for myself but many officers and staff and their friends and family.

 There has been a focus on the ‘and crime’ part of my role this week as I shared my views on the reform to probation services and I opened a local criminal justice conference dedicated to putting victims first. I have a duty to ensure an efficient and effective criminal justice service and crucially to listen to the voice of victims. There has never been such an important time to work in partnership and it is important for me to make sure that all of the organisations that make up the criminal justice service work together. Too often victims of crime are contacted many times by different organisations, having to tell their story time and time again, reliving their experience every time. From the consultation I carried out with victims over the past five months I know that victims want their journey to be simplified and their experience improved. They need to be kept informed of their case and have access to appropriate support.

 In October I will launch the first new integrated victims care teams, where dedicated teams will be looking after victims of crime. They will be supporting victims regardless of whether they have reported the incident to the police and making sure that they have access to services to help them recover and re-build their lives. It will also finally reduce the constant re-telling of their story because they will have a dedicated case worker sharing the information with all the other organisations involve d in the journey to court. This is an exciting time and a step change in the way we support victims. Avon and Somerset are at the forefront in England and Wales in putting victims at the heart of everything we do and giving them a much louder voice.

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