(CMR) The RCIPS are making strides by developing procedures meant to improve communications with victims.
As of this week the RCIPS has established a new office dedicated to improving the Service’s communication with victims of crime, which has been a longstanding request of the community and an objective of RCIPS management.
“Whether in community meetings, through feedback on our website, or even just anecdotally through acquaintances, we as police officers know that keeping victims updated on their cases is one area where our customer service has been weak,” said Kurt Walton, Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Complaints about lack of contact with investigating officers originate largely from victims of property crimes, such as burglaries or thefts. In its new Victim Care Policy the RCIPS obligates all officers to notify victims about developments in their cases, such as an arrest, within 72 hours, and to provide general updates monthly. At the same time the RCIPS also recognizes that officers with irregular work hours and several simultaneous investigations may not always be in the best position to maintain regular contact, and that the organization as a whole needs to assist.
Therefore, the RCIPS has established the Victim Contact Centre within the Crime Analysis Unit with a dedicated phone line and email answered by police staff during regular business hours. Victims or complainants in criminal matters can reach out to the Centre by phone or email anytime, however, and expect a response within 72 hours at the most.
“To be clear, investigating officers are still expected to maintain normal contact with the complainants in their cases. The Victim Contact Centre will support them in doing this and help us as an organization meet the standard of victim care the community is asking from us,” said DCoP Walton. “Making communication easier is the first and biggest step towards strengthening our victim care and overall professionalism.”