Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC's new victims' service exceeds the number helped in the whole of last year in under two months
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is celebrating with the team working in the new service she established with the Force to support victims of crime - the Signpost Hub - after providing help to more victims than were said to have been assisted by its predecessor over the whole of the last year, in just two months.

The Signpost Hub - a call centre manned by specialist Victim Care coordinators - has helped some 919 victims since it launched on April 1st. This compares with 905 victims said to have been assisted by its predecessor over the previous 12 months.

“The success of the Signpost Hub so far has been quite outstanding and completely vindicates the decision to bring the service to help support those affected by crime in-house. In under two months, the Hub’s specialist advisors have already assisted more than 100% of the total number of all those seen by the previous out-sourced service which is a mark of their incredible commitment and, most importantly, that victims of crime trust them and that we have the right people in the right jobs,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“Signpost is completely confidential. People are not speaking to an officer to give evidence but to an expert who can lead them to precisely the type of help and support they themselves consider that they need. They don't even need to have reported the crime to police as I have a legal duty to provide victim services in these circumstances too,” she added.

The Signpost Hub, which aims to make contact within 24 hours of a crime being reported, was set up to improve access to support for those affected by crime, including those who were not themselves the victim but who were affected by the crime such as children, partners and parents.

The Signpost service consists of a call centre of specialist helpers, based at Bedfordshire Police HQ, backed by a website - listing all the key support services available in the county. The Signpost Victim Care Coordinators aim to give first class support and care to both victims themselves and those connected to them who are also affected by the crime. It is a one-stop-shop for the information those affected by crime need to know, offering access to available help, support, advice and guidance with referrals to specialist support organisations. Victims of crime are also able to keep up-to-date with the progress of their case through Signpost. The team is available from 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and from 9am-5pm on Saturdays. The team can be reached by calling the freephone number 0800 0282 887.

The free and confidential service also deals with all Restorative Justice (RJ) cases which bring those harmed by crime and those responsible for the harm into communication, often face to face, enabling those affected by a particular incident to express their view of what the crime meant to them and to find a positive way forward. Since launching, the team has progressed 14 cases and is working with victims and offenders to arrange a further 28.

“Bedfordshire Police is determined to be a trailblazer in the field of Restorative Justice, helping victims to come to terms with what has happened to them by confronting the person responsible for the crime. Signpost is now taking this commitment forward and the number of cases it has arranged in such a short period is also testament to the fact that we take RJ incredibly seriously with all its potential benefits, both for the victim and in dissuading the criminal from reoffending,” said PCC Holloway.

“The Hub is proving that it’s not only an asset to victims but to police officers too. Representatives of organisations supporting particular types of victims - such as those who’ve experienced Domestic Abuse or sexual exploitation - hot desk from the Signpost Hub at Force HQ which means officers dealing with cases involving such victims can access advice themselves when handling these complex situations to make sure they do so appropriately,” added the Commissioner. 

Kevin Vanterpool, Head of Victim Care at the Signpost Hub, said: “Unfortunately we will never be in a position where we live in a victimless society, which is why it's so important to the team that we get this right and help every victim we possibly can in Bedfordshire. I am really pleased, in the first two months since we launched, that we have been able to support so many people and help them through their journey. 

“We will continue to work hard to ensure every victim, irrespective of whether or not they wish to report the crime, is helped by the Signpost Hub”, he added.

For further information visit the Signpost Hub website - or contact 0800 0282 887.