Adam Simmonds announces charity to take over service for victims of crime in Northamptonshire

Police commissioner Adam Simmonds with victims' commissioner Angela Sarkis at the launch of the Victims' Voice report in September 2013
Police commissioner Adam Simmonds with victims' commissioner Angela Sarkis at the launch of the Victims' Voice report in September 2013

The county’s police commissioner Adam Simmonds has announced the charity which will take the reins of a new service for victims and witnesses.

The service, which has been set up following the Victims’ Voice report last year, has been commissioned to make wholesale improvements to the service victims and witnesses receive in Northamptonshire.

It will significantly extend the support available for victims and witnesses and the force says it will be a national leader in its design. The new service, called Voice, will be run by Victim Support, on behalf of the police commissioner from October. Victim Support was successful in its bid in a process carried out earlier this year.

From the autumn the police commissioner will be responsible for providing services to victims following the Government’s decision to change the funding of such services, moving from national to local control.

Mr Simmonds said: “The move from Government funding of victim services to police and crime commissioners is an important move away from everything having to be centralised in London to giving local people more choice and freedom.

“Our plan in Northamptonshire is to make the care for victims and witnesses second to none, and I am really determined to see this service learn from the people it helps and continually improve.

“Giving responsibility to local people for the design of such important local services is a really key moment and Northamptonshire gets to lead the way.”

Mick Studley, divisional manager for Victim Support in Northamptonshire, added: “We’ve already helped many thousands of crime victims and witnesses throughout the decades we’ve worked in Northamptonshire.

“This new service will give victims in Northamptonshire the practical and emotional support they need to find the strength to move on after a crime, and we look forward to working closely with Northamptonshire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver it.”

Anyone can contact the new team directly, or can be referred by Northamptonshire Police and other agencies.

The Victims’ Voice report, carried out by victims’ commissioner Angela Sarkis, was published in September 2013 and provided 79 challenging recommendations for improvement in the delivery of services and support to victims and witnesses.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: “The creation of a new victim and witness service is fundamental to achieving the police commissioner’s ambition of transforming, for the better, the experiences of some of our most vulnerable people. Be they young or old the new service will seek to make a substantial difference to them all.”