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Bedfordshire PCC launches new online support service for victims
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has today launched a new website giving victims access to all support services in the county.

The website, called Signpost (www.signpostforbedfordshire.com), was promised in the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan. 

Commissioner Holloway said: “This website does exactly what is says on the tin. It is called Signpost for a reason and features a signpost on the homepage, so we can direct victims of multiple different crime types to the help and support they need and deserve, as easily as possible.

“It also allows me to meet my legal duty to provide help and support for victims of crime who, for whatever reason, do not want to report crime to police. 

“It is important to me that the service also explains to victims how to report the crimes they have experienced and explains what will happen next to help give them confidence to report crimes to police, to bring them real justice.”

Signpost lists all key support services for victims, with contact details for a range of different crimes ranging from rape and child sexual exploitation, to hate crime.

Those voluntary organisations which are already funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner are included, along with others whose services are quality assured by the Bedfordshire Victims’ Partnership. 

The website, which has been at consultation over the last few months, was shown to partners and organisations across Bedfordshire today (Tuesday 9 January) as part of a Partnership Day ran by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

At the event it was also unveiled a centre of excellence enhancing the practical and emotional support services available to all victims of crime is being created at Bedfordshire Police.

The new victims’ hub will be based at Kempston Headquarters and will take over from the current service provider Victim Support, going live on 1 April 2018.

Detective Chief Superintendent Sharn Basra said: “We are really excited about the new service, which will give first-class support and care for victims of crime. It will be a one-stop-shop for everything a victim of crime needs to know, offering practical and emotional support and referrals to specialist support. Victims will also be able to keep up-to-date with the progress of their case.

“The decision behind the move has been made after careful consideration, thorough research and consultations which have taken place nationally. It will reinforce the force’s commitment to putting victims at the heart of everything we do and be responsive to their needs, helping to improve victim satisfaction.

“The new service will also be a champion and advocate for victims by improving our understanding and responding to their needs. This will give victims greater confidence and satisfaction throughout the whole process, from reporting a crime through to attending court.”

Margaret Barker, the Chair of the Bedfordshire Victims’ Partnership (BVP) added: “The BVP supports Signpost and the hub as part of the OPCC and partners’ collaborative plans to improve existing services to victims of crime and community. We hear lots of the resource issues faced by the police locally, and partnerships will ease these challenges.

“The voluntary sector brings the authentic voice of victims’ expertise and immense experience and we are committed to improving services for underserved or hidden people. People young and old can access the help and report crimes with confidence that all our services will be tailored to their needs.”