Repeat and vulnerable victims not readily identified by Cambridgeshire police

REPEAT and vulnerable victims in Cambridgeshire are ‘slipping through the net’, according to a new report.

A report into Cambridgeshire police’s response to anti-social behaviour (ASB) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published on Thursday (June 21) says the force has improved since its first report two years ago.

The 2010 ‘Stop the Rot’ report was sparked by an inquest that ruled Leicestershire police failed to identify that Fiona Pilkington and her 18-year-old daughter Francecca Hardwick were being repeatedly targeted by youths, which led to their deaths in 2007.

The new report, ‘A Step in the Right Direction’, said that since 2010 Cambridgeshire police has introduced an IT system that can help identify repeat and vulnerable victims, but despite this, the force “does not consistently identify callers who are most at risk of harm from ASB, such as repeat and vulnerable victims”.

A review into calls made to the force control room showed that only half of the callers were asked if they were repeat victims and only a third asked questions to highlight caller’s vulnerability.

The report said: “This means some victims are effectively slipping through the net, and not getting the extra support they may need. Improvements in this area must be the next important step in tackling anti-behaviour effectively,”

It also showed that caller satisfaction among ASB victims, was lower than two years ago and that just more than half of callers only felt that reporting incidents made a difference.

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Zoe Billingham, eastern region inspector, said: “Our review shows that Cambridgeshire police has made progress in how it tackles ASB. The force should be commended for this - especially on the backdrop of significant cuts.

“However, there is no room for complacency. The force should continue to work on consistently identifying repeat and vulnerable callers who are most at risk.”

A police spokesman said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority and we are pleased the report recognises the progress made since 2010 in understanding and tackling ASB problems.

“Since 2010 there has been a focus on the identification of vulnerable victims and communities most at risk from the harm caused by ASB. Staff have received training and guidance is readily available.

“This will take time to embed and solid foundations are in place but we recognise there is more work to be done.”

The report said that there is a medium level of anti-social behaviour in the county in comparison to the rest of England and Wales and there were only five out of the 43 police forces were consistently identifying those most at risk.