PCC candidates pledge to protect budget for victim support groups
06:30 26 October 2012
Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner candidates have vowed to ensure victims will not be forgotten if they are elected to the landmark role next month.
Four of the candidates for the job of Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner met groups working to support victims yesterday.
They heard how crime impacts on everyday lives and what they should put in place to help.
The event, at the University of East Anglia’s Sportspark was organised by Victim Support Norfolk.
Conservative candidate Jamie Athill said he would help funding for victim groups by “rigorously prioritising” the police budget.
Independent candidate Stephen Bett said the evening made him think about how to harness the enthusiasm of volunteers who support victim groups, while Labour’s candidate Steve Morphew pledged to appoint a victim champion to help people affected by crime.
Liberal Democrat candidate James Joyce said he would make sure victim groups were supported by the police’s budget.
UKIP candidate Matthew Smith was unable to attend, but is meeting Victim Support next week.
Victim Support Norfolk is among those groups which fear some victims could lose out and be left to cope with the impact of crime on their own.
There are concerns the commissioner will be free to offer as much or as little support for victims as they want, meaning there will be no safeguards or guarantees of help for victims once PCCs are in post.
Kate Biles, divisional manager for Victim Support said: “Anyone can be a victim of crime and with the changes coming, it is really important that people vote for candidates who will ensure victims get the help they need to move on after a crime.”
Marcelle, who was held at gunpoint by her ex-partner, who was subsequently imprisoned, was helped by a victim’s charity.
She said: “Make sure the people you put in control are people who have some form of knowledge – we need people out there with some form of experience.”
Police and crime commissioners will be elected on November 15.