Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen has completed her first year in the role. Her focus during this time has been on improving the services and support for the victims of crime. With several highly successful initiatives in place, her focus is already having a positive impact on those affected by crime.
She has listened to what those impacted by crime need and want, and the services that have launched during her first year in tenure have been designed around lived experiences. Firstly, the provision of victims’ services has been brought under the direct responsibility of the PCC herself. Centralising victim referral services have delivered greater accountability, maximised improvements and ensured support is available when and wherever it is needed.
It is also easier for victims of crime to find the most suitable support, as there is now a dedicated page on the Durham Police and Crime Commissioners’ website for victim services. The page provides information and direct links to all services available in the County Durham area; vital services such as the Rape and Sexual Assault Counselling Centre, the Victim Care and Advice Service, along with many more.
Commissioner Allen said: “Everything I do as Commissioner has been to make the lives of local people – especially victims of crime and anti-social behaviour – better and safer. We have made great steps by listening to and involving the people who need and benefit from that help.”
A large part of this success has been down to the appointments to her team in January, of three new safety champions. This has brought further strength to the voices of victims of crime, to ensure planning, policy and commissioning decisions reflect their needs. The safety champions are ensuring that victims’ issues are captured in the delivery of the Police and Crime Plan, as well as contributing to the commissioning of support services and encouraging multiagency action to address the issues raised by victims.
The recently relaunched Community Mentor Peers scheme has also been brought under the direct management of the Police and Crime Commissioner, expanding the support available for victims of crime and antisocial behaviour and those with identified vulnerabilities. The scheme has more than 300 mentors with their own experiences of crime, antisocial behaviour, and neighbourly disputes. They help to inspire confidence and trust in the Police and the wider criminal justice system.
Their engagement with, and support for, these vulnerable victims has helped reduce the impact on frontline services. They provide additional and ongoing support for those affected by anti-social behaviour, as well as anybody who feels vulnerable or isolated.
Commissioner Allen said on her first anniversary: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of my first year in the role. My team and I are grateful for the support we have received from those impacted by crime. Their voices really are shaping the future of our service provisions for victims of crime across County Durham and Darlington. I am delighted with the improvements we have made during this year, and I look forward to delivering even more going forward.”
All victim services can be found on the Durham Police and Crime Commissionerswebsite at https://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/victims-services/victims-services
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