Report finds victims not helped in court

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INSPECTORS looking into crimes with vulnerable victims found on some occasions the person was not properly assessed by the police.

The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary looked at 10 of Hampshire police’s cases.

Of those, four had a vulnerable victim and in three of the cases, officers did not refer it to the Crown Prosecution Service for charging advice.

Victims were not assessed by police for special measures in court. Such measures include having screens in the courtroom putting victims out of sight of the accused.

The HMIC report released today said: ‘In the three cases, the police correctly identified vulnerability in the witness care section of the statement as required.

‘However, they neither completed the special measures assessment in any of the cases, nor referred cases to the CPS for charging advice.’

Inspectors looked into the case of an Asian man who drove to a police station after being racially abused by a male passenger.

The victim was frightened and intimidated, and was worried of further abuse.

But officers did not consider special measures to help him in court. Due to the racist aggravation in the case officers should have referred it to the CPS for charging advice.

Instead, this was not done and the passenger was charged with a public order offence – although the CPS later changed the charge to include racist aggravation.

In eight of the 10 cases, concluded in court between June and August last year, police summarised key evidence adequately and summarised the defendant’s interview adequately.

In one case the defendant’s interview summary was unclear, not succinct and did not contain details of the suspect’s prepared statement.

Forces across the country have been told to improve their understanding of vulnerable victims.