Ensuring justice for Cambridgeshire victims
January 21st, 2021
Cambridgeshire’s Acting Police and Crime Commissioner Ray Bisby has today announced extra funding to ensure the county’s criminal justice system runs as efficiently as possible in these challenging times.
The funds totalling £90k will provide 18 months of additional resource in the Victim and Witness Hub. The staff play a crucial role in supporting victims and witnesses to give their evidence, whilst liaising with courts and the Crown Prosecution Service to help ensure hearings and trials can go ahead.
This includes checking that any special measures are in place, that victims and witnesses know where they need to be and when, have transport, childcare and support available.
The work in this area has almost doubled during the pandemic as trials have had to be rearranged, often at very short notice. This means the total number of cases and the victims and witnesses needed to be liaised with increases. This all places significant pressure on an already busy team.
“It is critical that we keep our criminal justice system operating and these staff are key to ensuring victims and witnesses are at court when they are needed, are kept up to date and engaged with the process,” said Acting Commissioner Bisby.
“My role is to ensure an efficient and effective criminal justice system. At our Criminal Justice Board in December colleagues in the Constabulary highlighted the risks to effective justice. I am really pleased to be able to make this funding available,” he added.
Police and Crime Commissioners are also responsible for commissioning support services for victims of crime. In the past year Mr Bisby has accessed £790k of additional funding which has been allocated to domestic abuse and sexual violence charities supporting victims. This has enabled charities to bolster resources and in many cases continue to accompany victims to court to provide valuable support.
Mr Bisby added: “We must all work together to ensure victims of crime can access justice. In Cambridgeshire I am really proud of the way all criminal justice agencies have worked tirelessly to keep courts open and services running. I am also continually impressed with the dedication of local victim support agencies who continue to offer emotional and practical life lines of support to victims.”