Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has responded to the results of a national Victim’s Code Survey release by the Victims Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird today.
The survey shows that nationally, just 43% of victims would report a crime again based on their previous experience of the criminal justice system and just half would attend court again, which is down from 67% in 20220. Two thirds of victims said they had to wait too long for their case to get to court and only 9 per cent were satisfied that the court dealt with their case promptly. Ethnic minorities are also less likely to feel they were treated fairly and respectfully by the police.
Dr Billings said: “I note what the Victim’s Commissioner says about victims of crime feeling let down by the criminal justice system. We must also remember that this survey covers the experience of victims during the pandemic, which has impacted heavily on the criminal justice system. There is a lot of work taking place to restore services and reduce backlogs as well as deal with new demand.
“During the last 18 months I have secured additional investment for victim support services, with a focus on ensuring support is available for those victims who are particularly vulnerable
“I will use the findings of this report as a means of measuring the service offered to victims in South Yorkshire.
“I know first-hand from victims that what they want above all else is to be treated well by all those involved in the justice system – from police to Crown Prosecution and the courts.
“They want crimes to be taken seriously, for investigations to be thorough and timely and they want to be kept informed of progress – and this is not too much to ask!
“I regret past and present failures, but I also acknowledge the commitment in South Yorkshire of many organisations, including the police, to continuously improve.
“We should not forget that I established in South Yorkshire a ground-breaking Victims, Survivors and their Families Panel in the aftermath of the child sexual exploitation scandals in 2014, to learn directly from victims. These victims influenced the way the police understood child grooming and the training of officers.
“We expanded the definition of ‘victim’ in this case to recognise that family members could also be impacted by crime.
“I am pleased that the report recognises that police and prison officers can also be victims – of assaults, for example – and they too need to be taken seriously.
“We will study the results of the survey with care – particularly the experience of minority ethnic groups – and seek to learn from them.
“I will continue to ensure that the victim is put at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan and that the funding we give for Victims Services is appropriate.”