26 October 2023 08:00 Met improving support services for victims of crime Victims of crime across London will be better supported the Met launches three new ways for the public to speak to officers and get information.

Victims of crime across London will be better supported as the Metropolitan Police Service launches three new ways for the public to speak to officers and get information, as well as an independent forum to continuously drive improvements and hold the Met to account.

The services will significantly improve the way the Met delivers for victims, putting them at the heart of every response and investigation: 

  • My Met Service is an instant service where victims can use a QR code, email or SMS to give us instant feedback after they’ve spoken to an officer.  
  • The Victim Focus Desk phone line has been extended so officers and staff can provide victims with more regular updates, support and advice through every step of the criminal justice process.
  • New victim information leaflets will give victims a QR code to go to My Met Service and make sure victims know their rights under the ‘Victim’s Code of Practice’ (VCOP). 

A new Victim Voice Forum has also been set up in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime. It brings together people who have been victims of crime who have volunteered their time to share their personal experiences to help the Met deliver a better service.

The forum allows victims to provide feedback and shape reforms by challenging and informing the way the Met supports and treats victims.

Commander Nick John, lead for victim care at the Met, said: “We know we have let victims down in the past, but we are absolutely committed to improving our service.

“We’ve heard from many victims, already acting on their feedback, and I want to thank those who have worked with us as we strive to deliver better support and care. We value their honest feedback and know that without them we cannot make meaningful and long-lasting change.  

“Our reforms are part of our mission to create A New Met for London to provide a more consistent and compassionate service, utilise technology and make sure victims have a voice.”

The Victim Focus Desk, backed by £3 million in funding from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, has been expanded and enhanced since March 2023 as a direct result of feedback from victims. Victims said too often there was a lack of communication as investigations progressed through the sometimes-complex criminal justice system. The phone line now provides victims with updates on their case and offers them support and advice – such as how to preserve evidence following a burglary – and signposts them to other helpful services too.

The desk receives an average of 26,000 calls a month and has handled 180,000 calls since March 2023. The operating hours of the phone line have now extended so that victims can get more regular and consistent updates. The service has extended its hours and now operates 7 days a week, 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am – 4pm on weekends. The Met is also increasing the number of staff responsible for victim care, with a recruitment campaign underway to help boost staff answering calls.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s vital that victims of crime receive the support they need during what can be a stressful and traumatising journey to securing justice. That is why I’ve committed to investing £3million a year to improve and enhance the Met’s Victim Focus Desk.

“This funding has already helped the Met in setting up a new, free phoneline and increasing the number of dedicated staff to support victims of crime.

“I’m encouraged by the progress made in the first six months, but we know there is more to do and I’ll work with the Met Commissioner and London’s Victims Commissioner to improve the service provided to victims of crime as we build a fairer, safer London for all.”

London’s Victims Commissioner, Claire Waxman OBE, added: “Victims should always feel supported and empowered to come forward, and be given the help they need to stay engaged in the justice process once they do, and so I’m pleased that the Met has followed my recommendations by undertaking this crucial work to improve its support offer to victims. Hearing first-hand from victims has been invaluable to my work as Victims’ Commissioner, and I welcome the establishment of a Victims Voice Forum, allowing victims to directly support the Met’s change programme.

“Unfortunately, victims often experience a number of issues with updates and communication from the police, which is why I have long advocated for a ‘troubleshooting’ mechanism in the justice system, through which victims can have questions and issues quickly addressed. I’m confident that this significant investment from the Mayor will support victims to stay engaged in the justice system and rebuild trust and confidence in the police.”

The new Met Service tool also will make it easier for victims of crime to give feedback on the service the Met offers. As officers respond to crimes across their local areas, they will share a QR code with victims who can provide instant feedback on officers – rating their experience from 1 to 5. The ratings aim to help bridge the gap between officers, who can offer honest and helpful feedback, which will help to inform training, processes and policy across the frontline. It will also identify excellent work and opportunities for reward and recognition for outstanding service.

It’s currently in pilot stage and is being rolled out across boroughs of London, including Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Since it was rolled out in September 2023 the Met has seen an increase in feedback from typically hard to reach communities, including younger people.

The My Met Service QR Code will also link to victim information leaflets which will ensure victims understand their rights. The leaflet will also contain helpful information about support services where victims can seek help and support.

The new services for victims are all part of the delivery of A New Met for London. The Met are driving culture change and working to embed the values of policing by consent and build a strong culture focused on delivering for Londoners, maintaining high standards and learning from others.