At the last election the Labour candidate promised, “ a better deal for victims.“ He hasn’t just failed in that promise; it’s actually much worse. HMIC has given a red flag warning to Cleveland for it’s failure to effectively protect vulnerable victims and says:
“I am particularly concerned by the force’s approach to protecting some of the most vulnerable people. HMIC found inconsistencies in the identification of vulnerable victims at the first point of contact with the police.” [HMIC Inspector Mike Cunningham 25th Feb 2016]
This is a shocking failure by the Labour candidate to carry out some of his primary duties. There are two main reasons for the Labour Commissioners shocking failure:
⦁ STERIA – the private company that provides the control room and back office functions, appears to be failing in its duty. When we dial 999 we have a right to expect immediate protection and to expect our police to get that right first time – every time – because lives may depend on that first contact. Missing children are wrongly being recorded as absent instead of missing. Here’s the worrying part; absent doesn’t demand an immediate response so children’s lives are, potentially, being put at risk because of this dangerous flaw.
⦁ There doesn’t appear to be an integrated and structured approach to protect victims and witnesses.
These are immediate and serious concerns and immediate action will be taken to address them. I will:
⦁ Call in HMIC to implement the changes needed to address these failings. They are the experts in these matters and know the procedures in other forces that are GOOD at protecting vulnerable victims. There are many forces around the country far better than Cleveland at this.
⦁ Terminate the contract with STERIA. The Labour Commissioner won’t do it because he handed them the contract in the first place. In the interests of public safety these functions must be under the direct control of the Commissioner and the Chief Constable. This contract has failed to deliver its promises.