Right #3 To be provided with information when reporting a crime
Summary of right 3
- If you report a crime to the police or have an allegation reported on your behalf, or if you are contacted as a victim in the course of investigations, you have the right to written confirmation of your allegation. This will include the basic details of the offence, a crime reference number and the contact details of the police officer dealing with your case. The confirmation could be a letter, email, text message, or it could be written by hand.
- If the police consider that there’s a risk of harm to you from sending the written confirmation, for example in domestic abuse cases, they must provide confirmation in a way that does not potentially risk your safety.
- The police will explain to you where you can get further information about the criminal justice process and your rights as a victim. This will include information on where and how to get advice and support. For example, how to seek compensation, access to medical support, specialist support, such as psychological support (including pretrial therapy and counselling), and alternative accommodation. The police will also explain what arrangements are available if you do not live in England and Wales.
- If the offender is an adult, you have the right to receive information about Restorative Justice from the police and how to access Restorative Justice services in your local area. If the offender is under the age of 18, you have the right to receive information about Restorative Justice from the Youth Offending Team.
- Although the police are responsible for providing you with information on Restorative Justice initially, all service providers must consider whether you would benefit from receiving this information at any stage of the criminal justice process.
- All information under this right must be provided within 5 working days.
Local processes in Bedfordshire, key information and support
When reporting a crime, whether it’s in person at a Police Station, over the telephone or when speaking to an officer at the scene, you will be provided with a crime reference number once it has been generated.
The crime reference number will relate to an individual crime report that has been created on Bedfordshire Police’s crime reporting system called Athena. Once this report has been logged onto the system, the crime reference number can be generated and passed onto the victim when appropriate.
A victim should be asked by the Officer or Staff Member taking the crime report if they would like to be referred to Bedfordshire Victim Care Services (BVCS – the OPCC’s victim care service). If the victim consents to this, the Officer or Staff Member will refer the victim to BVCS so that support can be given. BVCS will also speak to the victim, where appropriate, about Restorative Justice.
The OPCC’s / Bedfordshire Victim Care Services (BVCS) pledge of how we intend to support the implementation of this right
Bedfordshire Police will monitor whether officers are contacting victims, this is done through the Athena crime reporting system.
The OPCC along with BVCS, monitor referrals. BVCS can see what percentage of crimes reported are being referred and monitor the trends. The OPCC’s Head of Victim Care is in regular contact with Bedfordshire Police’s Head of Crime providing updates and work closely with Bedfordshire Police to ensure BVCS is being offered to victims.
If a victim calls in to BVCS asking for updates on specific case, the BVCS Team will email the Officer and ask them to contact the victim. BVCS can not provide updates on cases.
Ongoing projects or work relating to the Victims’ Code being undertaken by the OPCC or collaboratively with criminal justice partners
As part of the Victims’ Needs Analysis recently carried out by the OPCC, 28 recommendations were made with a view to improving the victims’ journey. They relate to further work on cultural reviews and data analysis, process changes, training and awareness programmes, victim support and approach to commissioned services across partnerships new processes. Some of the recommendations are relatable to the rights within the Victims’ Code and they will be detailed in these updates each week.
There is 1 recommendation relatable to right 3:
Victim engagement and case updates – increased engagement with victims is required to provide case updates following reports of crime, in order to improve victim satisfaction, victim’s confidence of the criminal justice system and ensure police compliance with the Code of Practice for Victims. The implementation of an online self-service crime update
platform for victims should be considered and researched. This option could also alleviate workload and increase capacity for officers. If online provision is researched and not deemed appropriate, resource is required for this area as well as ensuring education to officers and staff about the importance of timely and appropriate updates. This should be managed in line with the Business Change and Continuous Improvement Board (BCCIB).
It is imperative that victims are kept up to date with the progress of their case. By not doing so can cause worry and anxiety and could lead to a withdrawal of support from the victim. The knock-on effects of this could be the victim losing faith in how victims are support by the Bedfordshire Police and the victim not reporting a crime in the future due to this.
By creating an online self-service crime update platform would be an ideal way for victims to obtain updates on their cases. Victims would not need to chase officers for updates, which can prove difficult due to officer’s shift patterns, annual leave and sickness all being a factor in victims being unable to contact officers.
Getting support after being affected by crime
If you would like to discuss how you could receive support with coping and recovering from the impact of crime, BVCS can help you. BVCS is free, confidential, available to everyone and a way for you to find the help that meets your specific needs.
Contact: Bedfordshire Victim Care Services
Freephone: 0800 0282 887
(calls are free from landlines and mobiles)
https://www.bedfordshirevcs.com/ (self-referral form found in the contact page)
Monday to Friday: 8am – 8pm
Saturday: 9am – 5pm
Closed bank holidays. Out of hours you can leave a voicemail and we will call back.