Yorkshire police boss pledges to 'champion interests of all victims and witnesses'

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns Williamson a
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns Williamson a

A Yorkshire police boss has pledged to put victims of crime first with the launch of an innovative new scheme "championing the interests of all victims and witnesses".

The Supporting People Harmed by Crime strategy will be officially launched by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns Williamson and the national Victims Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC on Monday, November 11, in central Leeds.

Keynote speakers will include Mr Burns-Williamson who will reveal more about the strategy and his regional role in supporting victims, Dame Vera herself, and the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police John Robins, who will discuss how the force supports victims of crime.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "One of my most important roles as Police and Crime Commissioner is to champion the interests of all victims and witnesses, and this strategy goes some way to addressing that.

"I urge anyone with an interest in victims and witnesses to consider what we can do collectively to support them and to attend this important event launch.

"People and communities are at the heart of our policies, practice and development of services and the launch of this strategy is about putting people at the heart of what we are trying to achieve which is why victims and survivors of crime have played a pivotal role in helping to inform and develop this strategy.”

The strategy has been development with the full involvement of other criminal justice partners including councils across West Yorkshire, the NHS and other representatives from the third sector.

Victims and survivors have also played an important role in developing the strategy and will be speaking about their own experiences at the launch event.

The event coincides with the further devolution of key responsibilities to Police and Crime Commissioners, for monitoring compliance with the Victims Code; and with new developments in support services for victims and survivors in West Yorkshire.

Mr Burns-Williamson said previously: "A particular focus for me over this last year has been the care for victims.

"We now have an expanded, more accessible service available to victims of all ages through the new Victim Support contract. We have established specialised victims hubs in each district of West Yorkshire, as well as commissioning a live chat facility".

The Police and Crime Commissioner also recently funded a facility for video link technology in Calderdale so that vulnerable witnesses can give evidence remotely.

He said: "This reduces the emotional burden for victims and will hopefully increase the number of perpetrators brought to justice and achieving better outcomes.