Vera Baird

Banner Image of Vera Baird

Putting Victims First

Since I was elected in 2012 Putting Victims First has been one of my Police and Crime Plan priorities. Some of the successes in improving the service offered to Victims are:


  • Involving victims of crime in the development and delivery of training for police officers.

  • Increasing through ICT changes, the speed of the risk assessment process for vulnerable victims of ASB and vulnerable victims are now responded to within one hour.

  • Signing a Victimless Prosecution Protocol to ensure a consistent evidence led approach to prosecutions.

  • Shaping at a national level the Victim’s Code of Practice and Victim’s Right to Review legislation.

  • Establishing a Restorative Justice Hub to co-ordinate agencies’ approach to ensuring victims of crime are offered to meet their offender and explain the impact they have had on their life.

  • Introducing a South of Tyne Street Triage Team, the team of dedicated police officers work with healthcare professionals when incidents involve those with mental health problems.

  • Endorsing the National Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, working with partners to improve the outcomes for those experiencing mental health crisis, particularly when in contact with the criminal justice system.

  • Establishing and overseen the development of Victims First Northumbria, which is a one stop shop for victims of crime, providing high quality support to meet individual needs.

  • Organising and supported a series of high profile campaigns to encourage reporting of under reported crimes such as female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and hate crime.

  • Securing funding to establish intelligence led multi-agency hubs that look to safeguard and protect both child and vulnerable victims of sexual exploitation and abuse both in the community and online.

  • Improving the criminal justice experience for children and vulnerable adults by maximising support available who are required to give evidence in court by shielding them from as much stress as possible when giving evidence.

Much of the successes in improving the service to victims of crime in Northumbria has been down to working in partnership with local authorities, groups, individuals and organisations. Further information regarding this work can be found by accessing the links below:

Working Together 2013-14

Working Together 2014-15

Working Together 2015-16

How we are Putting Victims First


A high percentage of victims of crime are satisfied with the service they receive from Northumbria Police and agree that they are taken seriously. Concerns are often around managing expectation and keeping people updated about their case.

Being a victim of crime can undermine a person’s confidence and make them unhappy or frightened. It can affect a person’s outlook on life. The same applies to victims of anti-social behaviour who deserve equally good service from officers.

Since my first Police and Crime Plan, in 2013, PCCs have been given the responsibility for the local provision of victim services. We have trained our police officers to recognise vulnerability and have established Victims First Northumbria, a ‘one stop shop’, which has supported over 36,000 victims since April 2015. VFN delivers support to victims, from report to court and beyond. Restorative justice can have a role in recovery and VFN has been nationally recognised as a leader in this field by the award of the Restorative Services Quality Mark. We collaborate with the Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company to maximise both victim and offender engagement with restorative justice.

 

In 2013-14 I have worked to deliver those promises and have


  • Provide timely information and communication about cases to suit the individual needs of victims – from report of a crime right up to a potential court case and beyond.

  • Commission victim services that respond to the existing and emerging needs of victims of crime in Northumbria.

  • Listen carefully to victims and use their experience of Northumbria Police and the Criminal Justice System to help shape training and improve our service and the victims’ experience.

  • Continue to develop and enhance safeguarding and our protection of vulnerable victims – understanding and responding to their needs to reduce repeat victimisation.

  • Provide restorative justice (find out more on page 30) opportunities where appropriate to help repair the harm caused by crime.

  • Assess and understand the needs of victims at the first point of contact, helping to strengthen the police response to victims and ensuring victims are connected with the support they need.

  • Continue to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for victims of crime, offering emotional and practical support, restorative justice and referrals to specialist support all under one roof.

What will be achieved


  • Improved victim satisfaction and police response.

  • Victims are supported to cope and recover from their experience of crime.

  • The most vulnerable victims are recognised and receive an enhanced service.