Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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Bedfordshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has moved closer to putting the victim at the centre of the way it works after holding an event to understand the wants and needs of the victim and improving services of the future.
Hosting the Victims Day was Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) - Kathryn Holloway, who invited a range of stakeholders and victims of crime to consult on the co-design and co-development of a future integrated service.
Commissioner Holloway told the conference:  “This day was my chance to show our partners delivering victims' services throughout Bedfordshire that it is not a sound-bite, when my Police and Crime Plan talks about putting victims at the centre of everything we do in policing and giving them a voice, but a very strongly held personal belief.
"I need to work together with our partners to make sure there are not gaps or duplications in victims' support and I want to save the time and money both they and my office are currently spending in grants' commissioning every single year.
"That is why I aim to co-commission and allocate funds alongside the former probation service - the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) on a three year cycle, starting next year. Partners told me they really welcome the greater sustainability this will bring - knowing they have three years' secure funding not just one - and should help enormously in the recruitment and retention of staff.        
"Together, the charities and local authorities of Bedfordshire working shoulder to shoulder with me and my office can make a huge difference and I aim to make this county a centre of excellence for victims' services."
The Victims Day - held at the Forest Centre, Marston Moretaine, was attended by over 60 representatives from a variety of services across Bedfordshire, when their views were listened to, with feedback from the event being collated and analysed in order to share experience and knowledge.
Bethan West, Director of Victim Services and Commissioning for the OPCC said: “The Victims Day was very successful and was a great example of how we can and should work together.
“The aim of this event was primarily to engage with partners and stakeholders to build on strengths that already exist.  The day demonstrated how we should communicate to provide the best possible services for victims in Bedfordshire and co-develop a future service putting victims at the centre of the way we work, and breaking the cycle for them and their families.”
In early 2017 the OPCC plans to repeat the process with victims of crime; consulting with victims of all ages, from all backgrounds across the county. The OPCC will also obtain views from those (for whatever reason) who do not wish to report crime.  It will also work with service partners to understand fully their views and aspirations of and what they would like to see incorporated in future services.
Ms West continued:  “We look forward to holding future events for young people, victims themselves and those who are often hidden from services, due to their lifestyle choices, to hear the real needs of victims in Bedfordshire.
“We must strive to ensure victims of crime across the county are supported and given the best chance to recover and move forward.”
In 2015 UK Police and Crime Commissioners became responsible for the local commissioning of victim services which are based on the following elements:
  • Emotional and practical support services for victims of crime particularly for victims of the most serious crime, persistently targeted victims, and vulnerable of intimidated victims, to help them cope, recover and where possible move from the harm they have experienced.
  • Emotional and practical support services for family members
  • Emotional and practical support services for victims of sexual violence and domestic violence
  • Building the capacity and capability of providers, including Restorative Justice Services, from the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprises sector.