Language support needed for county’s victims’ hub

Jason Ablewhite, the police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Jason Ablewhite, the police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire police’s victim and witness hub needs more language support, the county’s crime commissioner has said.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Victim and Witness Hub was praised for its successes by the police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite, but he said more officers with language skills will be needed over time.

Speaking to members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Panel at its meeting last week, Mr Ablewhite said: "There have been some reductions in the numbers of referrals over the past few months.

"Some of this is due to ironing out the much publicised problems with the new 'Athena' IT system being operated by nine forces in England and Wales, of which we are one.

"However, the hub staff have been working tirelessly throughout to put immediate actions in place identifying gaps in the system so that victims can be supported quickly and efficiently.

"One issue that we will need to address is the provision of specialist victim workers who have multiple language skills, so that all parts of our community can be considered and heard."

The commissioner also spoke about the importance of partnership work: "The 'Violence Against Women and Girls' project, the 'Homelessness Trailblazer' project, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership, and others like these are vital elements in today's policing," he said.

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"There has been a huge increase in domestic violence and of course knife crime, while nationally funding for projects such as these is being cut back all the time.

"These are crimes that impact upon all our services including mental health resources, housing and the emergency services.

"We therefore have to work with our partner groups to ensure that the resources we have are used in the best possible way to provide countywide support, giving victims of these crimes the help they need."