Satisfaction levels among crime victims in South Yorkshire have fallen this year in spite of work by police aimed at improving the service provided and more measures are now being introduced to try to put the force back on track towards its aim of providing an “excellent victim led service”.
Changes in the way the Home Office want victim satisfaction results logged means fewer statistics are needed than in the past, with a central focus on the way domestic abuse cases are handled – though the South Yorkshire force still logs results from a wider range of offences.
They show that increased numbers of domestic violence victims are satisfied with the way their cases have been handled by police – rising to 83 per cent from an earlier figure of 81 per cent – this year.
But overall figures are down, from 78 per cent to 75 per cent and that is despite the force including work to improve the experience of victims at the hands of its staff in a ‘force vision’ introduced during 2017, which puts delivering an excellent victim led service as a “foundation stone” of the way it works.
According to a report presented to South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, police know satisfaction levels dip in cases where crimes are reported but police do not attend the scene.
The report stated: “Work is ongoing to understand this reduction in more detail and make the required improvements, for example: We know satisfaction levels reduce when victims are informed of an expected time for attendance by SYP and the force does not meet this expectation.
“Where crimes have been resourced without deployment, satisfaction levels are lower.
“In circumstances where a crime has been RWD, SYP know satisfaction levels significantly improve where a clear explanation is given as to why resources have not been deployed and how/why the investigation has been finalised. “Delivery of ‘positive’ messages are also key eg crime prevention advice, how to keep updated on police activity and providing detail of the local neighbourhood policing team.
“Where victims are kept updated, feel valued and are taken seriously, satisfaction levels increase.”
More work is now planned for the months ahead to try to improve the work towards crime victims from both police and its partner organisations which also work with them.
The force is already part way through a 12 week plan aimed at putting improved practices into place, with changes such as the introduction of ‘victim panels’, which can feed back first hand accounts of experiences in dealing with the establishment following a crime.
There is also an ambition to put South Yorkshire Police at the forefront of restorative justice, where victims and offenders meet.
Although that work is credited with only preventing 14 per cent of offenders from getting into further trouble, 84 per cent of victims have found the process “a worthwhile experience”, Dr Billings has been told.
“Now is the time to build on the work to date, widen opportunities to all crime types, make referrals easier, more efficient and ensure appropriate training across all officers/ staff and relevant partner agencies,” said the report.