Peterborough’s crime chief challenged over victim support as he highlights progress

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Police & Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite told the Peterborough City Council Crime Panel progress is being made with his crime plan, and that he hopes for more announcements in November.

“The roll-out of the ‘111 option 2’ telephone number has undoubtedly helped relieve pressure on elements of the emergency services across our region,” he said.

Jason Ablewhite (centre) addresses the panel

Jason Ablewhite (centre) addresses the panel

“And I expect that further progress will be made in the coming months as the use of this new facility is better understood by the public.

“There has been progress made in the crime plan since May 2018, and I expect more announcements to be made at my next meeting in November, but if the police are not delivering because of over-capacity, then I believe it is the responsibility of all of us in the community to help deliver these services.”

Mr Ablewhite was discussing the delivery of the Crime Plan, and went on to say: “In respect of offenders I am delighted to announce that operations are underway which are ‘James Bond-esque’ in their nature, but of course I cannot divulge details because they are covert.

“I have invested more than £2 million in victim support services in the last two years and have now opened a victim and witness hub in Peterborough, staffed by brilliant volunteers who can support all levels of victims of crime.

“We are working closely with both police and social care delivery services, and I want to make sure that from a victim’s point of view they are signposted at a very early stage to the support that they need, and we now have a wonderful new website up and running packed with information for victims of crime and how they can be best served.

“I believe that if we don’t get victim support right then we will fail in other areas of police support in the community.”

Chairman of the panel Edward Leigh wasn’t as convinced. He said: “While there are many good things in your report, it must be taken in the light of customer feedback of 67.5 per cent ‘fairly satisfied with victim support’, which is not very good, is it?”

Mr Ablewhite responded: “There is some time lag in response figures, but it certainly isn’t because the police don’t care, and what it highlights to me is some of the pressures these officers and victim support staff are under.”

Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service