South Yorkshire police boss responds after survey reveals less than half of victims would report a crime again
South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has defended the county’s police service after a survey revealed less than half victims would bother reporting a crime again.
The national Victim’s Code Survey released by Victims Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, stated just 43 per cent of victims would report a crime again based on their previous experience of the criminal justice system and just half would attend court again, down from 67 per cent in 2020.
Two thirds of victims said they had to wait too long for their case to get to court and only nine per cent were satisfied the court dealt with their case promptly.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, defended the performance in South Yorkshire, adding the survey looked at victims’ experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, which impacted heavily on the criminal justice system.
He said: “There is a lot of work taking place to restore services and reduce backlogs as well as deal with new demand.
“During the last 18 months I have secured additional investment for victim support services, with a focus on ensuring support is available for those victims who are particularly vulnerable.
“I will use the findings of this report as a means of measuring the service offered to victims in South Yorkshire.”
He said he knew first-hand from victims that they wanted above all else to be treated well by all those involved in the justice system – from police to the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts, and for crimes to be taken seriously, investigations to be thorough and timely and to be kept informed of progress, adding this was not too much to ask.
“I regret past and present failures,” he said. “But I also acknowledge the commitment in South Yorkshire of many organisations, including the police, to continuously improve.
“I am pleased that the report recognises that police and prison officers can also be victims – of assaults, for example – and they too need to be taken seriously.
“We will study the results of the survey with care – particularly the experience of minority ethnic groups – and seek to learn from them.”
Dame Vera Baird QC, the Victims’ Commissioner, said: “All too often victims are still treated as an afterthought.”