Tackling Crime (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
November 1, 2018
Question By: 
Shaun Bailey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Shaun Bailey AM:  Good morning, Mayor.  Good morning, Commissioner.  Mr Mayor, as you will be aware, victim satisfaction is going down.  How will you be working with your Victims Commissioner to improve that situation?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Tackling Crime (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Tackling Crime (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  As far as confidence of Londoners is concerned, it has stayed broadly the same for some time.  There is concern among victims on a number of issues in relation to sanction detection, as Assembly Member O’Connell referred to in answer to a previous question.  The information they receive, the quickness of response.  At a previous Mayor’s Question Time, we raised the issue of 999 calls versus 101 and the response time it takes.  There are a number of issues upon which victims want better results. 


The work Claire Waxman as London’s first Victims Commissioner is predominantly working with victims and victims’ groups to understand the sort of feedback you are referring to, which is not just numbers but it is the experience that victims have.  One is somebody being caught who is responsible for the criminality.  The second is the experience the victim has, and that extends to, by the way, at the court and when they are cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel.  We do lots of work across the criminal justice system, not simply around policing but around the experience in court, speaking to judges and magistrates, but also simple things. 


I will give you one example.  There have been examples where a person has been arrested, charged, prosecuted, sent to prison.  When he is released from prison, the victim is not informed that the person has been released from prison.  There are a whole range of things we are trying to do to improve the victim’s experience.  The reason why it is important is we want people to come forward and report crime and be witnesses.  If you are not satisfied, you may not do so in the future.


Shaun Bailey AM:  We welcome the development of a Victims Strategy.  I think that is good progress, but when can we expect that to be published?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  We have already had lots of works published in relation to a Victims Strategy, and we are already starting to see a difference.  The Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy was a consequence of speaking to victims.  A number of strategies have been published.  You will be aware, Assembly Member Bailey, that we have recently agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), which means we will be responsible for commissioning the victims’ services in court as well.  A lot of that work is taking place and a number of strategies have been published.  I am not sure which particular one you refer to.


Shaun Bailey AM:  There is talk of a new Victims Strategy and I was wondering when the delivery would be on that. 


My last point is a bit of a plea, really.  Around knife crime in particular, many of the victims know the perpetrator - there is a relationship there - and how they are dealt with is very important.  I wonder if there could be an emphasis or focus on that in any strategy going forward.  In particular communities that relationship is causing real terror, and if the victims could be satisfied, that would make a real difference.  That is enough from me, Chairman.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, on that the Commissioner may want to come in, but my experience of speaking to officers is that often the victims may well know who may have been involved in the act of violence, but for a variety of reasons they are nervous or unwilling to come forward and give the information to the police, for reasons that we can understand.  I would say this, and again the Commissioner has infinitely more experience than I have.  The best source of information that the police can have in relation to investigating a crime and detection is the co-operation of witnesses and victims.  The Commissioner can herself tell you some of the challenges that police have. 


Cressida Dick CBE QPM (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis):  I know you are right, of course.  The vast majority of Londoners will go about their business without being troubled by knife crime.  It is extremely unlikely for most of us most of the time.  Sadly, there are areas of London communities, parts of those communities, in which knife crime is very prevalent and in which people usually know the offender.  We do face a real challenge in gaining their confidence and helping them to understand that we can assist and that a criminal justice outcome would be a good way to deal with this sometimes.  There are lots of reasons for this fear.  We understand.  I take your point entirely that the way in which that - usually young - person is dealt with and, for want of a better word, interacts with the officers and the other support services is absolutely crucial, even if in that instance they do not want to tell us and they will not give us their clothing, they will not give us their phone.  It is very important that we treat them very well.  I think my Trident teams, for example, do that well.  They understand that.  My gangs teams understand that and understand that it is important to talk with the family as well, similarly.  I am sure there is more we can do here, and we have to break this cycle, which is so difficult, where people are really reluctant to assist us.