Victims of crime and those affected by crimes impacts are a fundamental focus within policing and for the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). Every OPCC must be a champion for victims as per their statutory obligations.
In order to further fulfil this commitment a Victim Needs Analysis (VNA) was created to help understand the needs and issues for individuals and communities across Bedfordshire. It has been five years since the last VNA was published in 2016. Given the duty to commission victim services that provide victims with the best support, it is absolutely vital that the OPCC has a well-rounded understanding of victims’ needs and the issues that they face locally in comparison to the national context, and any key changes since the last VNA was released. This 2021 Bedfordshire OPCC Victims’ Needs Analysis (VNA) set out to achieve just that.
Primary goals of this Victims’ Needs Analysis
• an intelligence lead and evidence-based guide to further aid the commissioning of future victim services
• a strategic overview of national policy and the implications for local areas.
• review of national and local data to understand key themes and trends relating to crime and victims and the demand on services.
• a strategic overview of local Community Safety Partnership and Police priorities.
• an overview of current service provision, identifying good practice and identify gaps.
• a strong understanding of victims needs for the newly elected PCC later this year
A literature review of key national policy was carried out including existing, new, updated and coming into effect in future. Quantitative and qualitative data was assessed and where appropriate compared against national or similar force data. This included recorded crime statistics, victim surveys and victim police complaints information. Victim engagement was paramount in completing the bespoke survey which collected 296 responses to questions relating to key areas of research for the VNA. Key partner contribution was also sought from Bedfordshire Police, The Ministry of Justice and the charitable sector.
In February 2021, the Victim’s Minister, Dame Vera Baird QC released her report to Government to call for a new Victim Law and stated that the falling confidence in the criminal justice system could only be restored by treating victims as participants rather than outsiders in events that could have been pivotal moments in their lives. The VNA stands with that statement and has an ambition to be part of the solution so that the people of Bedfordshire can receive the service they both expect and deserve.
The VNA is focused on partners moving together to further improve the OPCC approaches and services.
This Victims’ Needs Analysis has designed a series of 28 recommendations in response to areas of change required, covering areas such as; process changes, cultural reviews and approach of commissioned services across partnerships. The recommendations have been designed to be delivered, monitored and completed so that the contributors to this work can be assured of action.
Lila Begum, Independent Advisory Group member and Chief Constable Advisory Panel member for Bedfordshire Police, said “It’s important that the VNA reflected the need, changes and identified the gaps in services in Bedfordshire. This will help shape the support network and pathway for both victims and professionals. Being part of the VNA was important for me as I wanted to ensure my voice was heard and those who I have supported. We must continue to engage and reach out to victims, survivors and the community, to get these services where we know they need to be.”
Chief Executive to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said “We are incredibly grateful to the individuals who have been affected by crime who gave us their time and valuable insight so that we can make changes that will improve the journey that others will go on. The only way we can achieve these changes is if partners come together and focus strategy and action on addressing the needs of those affected by crime in Bedfordshire.
It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact upon the world of victim care and the OPCC acknowledges that impact and understands changes that have had to be made to cope during and after the pandemic, however there is never a time to stop working on this area until we get it right for all the people we serve.”
To read the Full Victim Needs Analysis (VNA) click here.
To read the Precise Victim Needs Analysis (VNA) click here.