We have put together some guidance to help you in dealing with victims. This guidance is tailored to different roles and responsibilities see below.

Initial Supervisor Guidance

The initial command and control of the incident can make or break the victim’s experience. With competing priorities on busy operational commands or units the important early activity can get side-lined without effective management. The incident supervisor is responsible for compliance and immediate officer support.

Key Responsibilities

  • Ensure victims and witnesses are provided sufficient time to record the incident effectively and accurately.
  • Conduct an early wellbeing assessment. 
  • Identify an officer to take the victim’s statement if necessary. 
  • Assign an officer to record the crime and ensure a briefing of the facts has been provided.
  • Supervise the crime report ensuring the initial details accurately reflect the incident and the most appropriate offence has been outlined.
  • Complete the necessary H&S report (mandatory for assault with injury or potential work related ill health such as spitting) and cross reference with the crime report
  • Liaise with the initial investigator and ensure they understand the evidential requirements.
  • Ensure the incident is brought to the attention of the local inspector/secondary supervisor.

Game Changing Advice – going that extra step

  • Don’t under estimate how important your initial care and support is. It can have far reaching effects and can make or break the whole experience.
  • Make early personal contact as soon as possible.
  • Consider the impact and not just the severity of the assault. This might be the first time a colleague has been assaulted, it might be the third or fourth.
  • Check on colleagues who were present, others may be affected.
  • Make sure the inspector/secondary manager is briefed about the incident and response.
  • Make sure the person tasked with the initial investigation understands that victim care is equally as important for our colleagues as it is for members of the public.
  • A hot de-brief can help everyone with a better understanding particularly the investigator and the person capturing the victim’s statement.

Inspectors and Secondary Supervisors Guidance

While we aim to provide a consistent process for all assaults, there will need to be clear direction and leadership to ensure the most appropriate level of response is provided on a case by case basis. This at times requires sensible decision making based on the circumstances of each incident and the impact on the victim. The local inspector/secondary supervisor will need a full appraisal of the incident to ensure all key players are effectively briefed and activity is undertaken.

Post incident a local inspector will take responsibility for ensuring key roles and responsibilities are assigned, establishing early contact with the victim, assessing the severity of the incident and updating the local SLT if appropriate and necessary. The investigation of the incident will usually remain with the local division or Operational Command Unit (OCU). The inspector/secondary supervisor will retain initial post incident responsibilities before liaising with and handing over ongoing welfare management to the respective team/unit supervisors if the victim does not fall under their line management responsibility.

Key Responsibilities

  • Appoint an incident supervisor to oversee all supervision and incident management.
  • Confirm initial assessment of injuries.
  • Appoint and brief a welfare officer if necessary.
  • If appropriate inform a local senior leader of the incident and overview of immediate actions.
  • Provide an update for the next scheduled operational management/review meeting.
  • Ensure the incident and the response is recorded.

Game Changing Advice

  • Be intrusively supportive. Is all as it appears?
  • Consider the victim’s ongoing responsibilities. What can you do to accommodate them?
  • Will they need ongoing assistance? (support, care, travel to appointments)
  • Consider the appointment of a welfare officer even if the officer has not been placed sick. This will be based on an assessment of the circumstances and impact on the officer.
  • Could this incident have a significant traumatic effect? If so, consider a call to the senior OH duty manager to co-ordinate a trauma support assessment.
  • Consider whether the incident had an impact on the team.
  • Are there issues that need to be de-briefed that can assist organisational learning?
  • Check that sure the key players have been identified and briefed and taking things seriously. Challenge dismissive attitudes.
  • If remits and workloads are disputed, consider the impact on the victim. They don’t need to know if there is debate over who will investigate their assault, nor should they be involved in the discussion. They just need to know that someone will investigate it.

Investigating Officers Guidance

The severity of injury on a colleague is important but we also need to consider the impact on the individual, the service and the public. When a colleague is assaulted they deserve the right to know that the offence is being taken seriously and that every effort will be made to hold the offender to account. A thorough investigation demonstrates to the victim that we are taking them seriously and sends a wider message to would be offenders that we will take action.  

An integral role in the process, the investigating officer should be independent of the incident and appointed with due consideration to the severity of the incident. They will take initial responsibility for compiling the victim’s statement and will provide advice to ensure best evidence is captured. They will provide progress updates to the victim and/or supervisors as per the Victims Code of Conduct (VCOP). They will ensure that an impact statement is drafted and included in the case file. They will ensure that clear rationale is recorded for disposal decisions.

Key Responsibilities

  • Complete the officer/victim’s statement in line with local policy
  • Provide evidential advice and identify the most appropriate offence
  • Consider the victims welfare and victim status.
  • Maintain investigation updates as per (VCOP)
  • Compose a well-structured Victim Personal Statement
  • Complete Chief Constables Organisational Impact Statement template 
  • Update the Welfare Officer regularly if one has been appointed
  • Take into account the victim’s view before imposing an outcome.
  • Support the VRR process.

Game Changing Advice

  • Your colleague is a victim of crime and you can make a real difference to their experience. Make early contact with them and let them know you are taking things seriously.
  • Put yourself in their shoes and do your best to support a successful prosecution. Take the approach that any assault on a colleague is an assault on us all. It is not and should never be acceptable.
  • Good evidence takes time.  In the victim’s statement, clearly set the scene and explain the legitimacy of their actions. This is more than simply being “on duty”. It needs to be clear what they were doing and why they were doing it (see Criminal Justice guidance).
  • Treat every statement as if you are explaining the very basics, step by step. Use the 5 Part Structure if it assists;
  • Provide regular updates.
  • Answer your CPS memos promptly, they will help a successful prosecution. Cases are dropped when we do not respond to memos.

Welfare Officers Guidance

One of the main themes we hear from victim’s personal experiences is the importance of meaningful welfare support both in the initial early stages and ongoing longer term support. We need to think beyond physical injury and be mindful of the psychological impact on being assaulted. Whilst we have not defined precisely what welfare support is for Op Hampshire, we should consider it in its broadest sense and treat each case on an individual basis, considering how the incident will affect the victim both in and outside the workplace.

In the early stages the incident supervisor and welfare officer may be dual roles if appropriate. The welfare officer should ideally be the officer’s immediate line manager but can be a colleague. Police and staff victims often downplay any personal impact post event, believing they must show fortitude and resilience. Both the physical and psychological impact of an incident or series of incidents should be considered. Welfare officers will take responsibility for maintaining meaningful and regular contact with the officer and providing welfare updates to the team inspector.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide the officer/member of staff with regular contact.
  • Manage immediate welfare needs of the individual including facilitating contact with family, transport and clothing.
  • Ensure the victim’s duties/responsibilities provide sufficient time for recovery.
  • Maintain welfare contact logs.
  • Liaise with the OIC to ensure progress is communicated to both management and victim.
  • Support and progress the officer’s/member of staff’s return to work appropriately.

Game Changing Advice

  • Think about the impact of trauma. Would the officer/staff member or any of their colleagues as a group benefit from a trauma support assessment? (contact the OH duty manager to discuss).
  • Be intrusively supportive. Is all as it appears?
  • Consider the impact on the victim’s family and home life. This is often overlooked.
  • Keep the officer up to date on team news and other information such as job opportunities, promotion processes.
  • Include them in opportunities to catch up with colleagues.
  • Consider additional support that can be provided outside of the force by police organisations such as Oscar Kilo, Police Care UK, Police Mutual, PFEW, Unions, Staff Associations. 
  • Consider the support that the PFEW, unions and staff associations can provide.
  • Are there issues that need to be de-briefed that can assist organisational learning?