• Monday, March 04, 2024

News

Met launches new support services for victims of crime

Mayor Sadiq Khan stressed the necessity of supporting victims during their often-stressful pursuit of justice and praised the progress made by Met, pledging ongoing collaboration to enhance victim services

The new services are set to enhance the Metropolitan Police’s victim-centered approach, ensuring they are central to each response and investigation process – Image Credit: Metropolitan Police

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

In an effort to bolster support for crime victims across London, the Metropolitan Police Service has introduced innovative measures, marking a significant step towards enhancing victim care. Therefore, three new services have been launched to facilitate improved communication with the public and provide essential information.

‘My Met Service’ allows victims to offer instant feedback using QR codes, emails, or SMS after engaging with an officer. The ‘Victim Focus Desk’ phone line has been extended, ensuring officers can provide victims with regular updates, advice, and support throughout the entire criminal justice process. Additionally, new victim information leaflets feature QR codes linking to My Met Service, enlightening victims about their rights under the ‘Victim’s Code of Practice’ (VCOP).

A new initiative, the ‘Victim Voice Forum,’ has also been established in collaboration with the mayor’s Office for Police and Crime. This forum comprises volunteers who have experienced crime and willingly share their personal encounters, aiding the Met in delivering a more effective service.

Thus, victims can actively contribute to shaping reforms by offering valuable feedback.

Commander Nick John, lead for victim care at the Met, expressed the Met’s commitment to enhancing services, acknowledging past shortcomings, and emphasising the importance of victim input.

He said, “We’ve heard from many victims, already acting on their feedback, and I want to thank those who have worked with us as we strive to deliver better support and care. We value their honest feedback and know that without them we cannot make meaningful and long-lasting change.

“Our reforms are part of our mission to create A New Met for London to provide a more consistent and compassionate service, utilise technology and make sure victims have a voice.”

Supported by £3 million in funding from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the Victim Focus Desk has undergone substantial expansion and enhancement since March 2023 based on victim feedback.

Victims had expressed concerns about the lack of communication during complex investigations, prompting improvements.

The desk now operates seven days a week, 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 8am-4pm on weekends, offering consistent updates and advice. The Met has also extended its staff responsible for victim care and is recruiting additional personnel to handle calls, a press release by Met reported.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, stressed on the necessity of supporting victims during their often-stressful pursuit of justice. He praised the progress made and pledged ongoing collaboration to enhance victim services.

He said, “That is why I’ve committed to investing £3million a year to improve and enhance the Met’s Victim Focus Desk.

“This funding has already helped the Met in setting up a new, free phoneline and increasing the number of dedicated staff to support victims of crime.

“I’m encouraged by the progress made in the first six months, but we know there is more to do and I’ll work with the Met Commissioner and London’s Victims Commissioner to improve the service provided to victims of crime as we build a fairer, safer London for all.”

London’s Victims Commissioner, Claire Waxman OBE, praised the Met’s efforts, highlighting the importance of empowering victims and facilitating their engagement with the justice process. She also welcomed the Victims Voice Forum, viewing it as a vital platform for victims to influence positive change.

She said, “I’m confident that this significant investment from the mayor will support victims to stay engaged in the justice system and rebuild trust and confidence in the police.”

The new Service tool is designed to simplify the process of providing feedback for crime victims. When officers respond to incidents in their local areas, they will share with victims a QR code. By scanning the code, victims can instantly rate their experience on a scale from 1 to 5.

These ratings serve a dual purpose: they facilitate open and constructive feedback from victims, bridging the communication divide between officers and the community.

Moreover, these evaluations contribute to enhancing training, refining processes, and shaping policies at the frontline. Exceptional performance will also be identified, creating avenues for recognition and rewards for outstanding service.

It is currently in pilot stage, and being rolled out across various boroughs of London such as Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Newham, Hackney, and Tower Hamlets.

Since its introduction in September 2023, the Met has observed a rise in feedback, particularly from traditionally hard-to-reach communities, including younger individuals.

Moreover, the My Met Service QR Code will serve as a gateway to victim information leaflets, ensuring victims comprehend their rights fully.

These leaflets will not only provide crucial details about victims’ rights but also offer valuable information about support services available for victims seeking assistance and support.

The newly introduced services for victims form an integral component of the A New Met for London initiative.

The Met is actively promoting a cultural transformation, emphasising the values of policing by consent, and striving to cultivate a strong culture centered on serving the people of London, upholding high standards, and drawing insights from external sources.

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