A wide range of services which support victims, prevent reoffending and deliver restorative justice gathered at Devon and Cornwall Police headquarters on Tuesday (May 23) to showcase their incredible work.
The event, hosted by the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Alison Hernandez, saw services she funds across the peninsula meet with police officers and staff, stakeholders and councillors to raise awareness of the help available to people living in our communities.
New Chief Constable Will Kerr spoke at the showcase, saying how the range of services in attendance reflected how much policing has changed.
He said: 'The majority of calls that we get coming in to us at the moment are not crime-based. They don’t end up being crimed, and they relate to a range of other services. They include people in distress, people who are vulnerable, people who just want to talk.
'Of course we recruit police officers who have those basic skills of compassion but we can’t do this alone, we don’t have the skills and we don’t have the capacity. So being able to access the range of deeply impressive services that are represented in this room is immensely beneficial for police. And it means we have better services that we can collectively offer to the public.'
John Miller spoke about Victim Support’s commissioning role as strategic delivery partner for the Police and Crime Commissioner, followed by his colleague Soo Brizell who spoke about key achievements including the introduction of a multi-crime service using independent advocates, a specific ASB support service, the shaping of care for people in the police force who have experienced domestic abuse, and the recent commissioning of a three-year road collision support service.
The showcase offered the chance for providers to network with members of the police force with the aim of helping them to understand how people they deal with can access support.
Speaking at the event, Chief Superintendent for Local Policing Matt Longman said: 'The biggest thing I’ve taken from today is having that one-to-one and really understanding what these services do, but also the stories that I can take back to my officers who can start to really buy into and understand what’s at the receiving end of these processes, so when you’re making referrals it’s not just ticking a box, there are real stories behind it. And what has particularly touched me today is young people telling us what a difference commissioned services can make.' The showcase was welcomed by services including award-winning women’s and children’s charity Trevi.
Hannah Shead of Trevi said: 'It’s been a great day; it’s been really lovely to meet so many services that we work with – maybe we make referrals to or get referrals from – but actually just to spend time talking has been great.'
Speaking after the event, Chief Constable Kerr said how beneficial the day had been for both services and Devon and Cornwall Police.
He said: 'It’s been a fantastic event with a significant number of the more than 50 commissioned services that provide fantastic support for victims of crime in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
'You can just see the range and the passion of people in the room to do right and to do good by victims in the South West.
'Events like this allow people to make connections both across the force and at a local level that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.'
In 2023-24, Commissioner Hernandez will spend more than £9m funding more than 50 support services. She hailed the event as a great success and said how thankful she was that so many of the services she funds were able to attend.
She said: 'Thank you so much to everyone who took the time out of their extremely busy week to help share the message or learn about what help is available to people affected by crime, to reduce reoffending, and to deliver restorative justice.
'The turnout has made me especially proud of the breadth of support I am able to fund across the peninsula, from services supporting people of all ages who have experienced sexual violence and domestic abuse, to those targeted by hate crime or antisocial behaviour, and those in the grip of addiction, among so many others.
'Thank you also to our strategic delivery partner Victim Support which does such amazing work putting in place the care and support which improves the lives of people living in our force area every single day.'