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Essex: MP’s call for new law to aid victims of crime

Priti Patel MP

Priti Patel MP

Archant

Victims of crime must have more rights and be reassured that the justice system is fair, an Essex MP has said.

Witham MP Priti Patel has made the call after revealing how a constituent only found out that a drug-addicted alcoholic who threatened his 12-year-old with a knife had been given bail when his local newsagent told him.

Ms Patel, who recently joined the Prime Minister’s policy board, said her idea for a “Victims’ Law” would strengthen the rights of victims, and reassure them that the criminal justice system is fair.

She has also highlighted the considerable costs and problems with access to information for those whose are victims of crime abroad.

Ms Patel said: “At the moment, we measure the success of the criminal justice system predominantly through examining reductions in the crime rates.

“But, going forward, we should also examine the way victims feel about the justice system and the services they receive as an important measure of its performance.” She added: “Historically, the justice system has not always provided victims with the comprehensive and consistent levels of service and support that they need and deserve.”

Ms Patel said it was “simply not good enough” that the British Crime Survey showed that over much of the last decade, around one-third of the public believed that the criminal justice system met the needs of victims.

The Government has introduced a new Code of Practice which aims to improve services for victims and raising awareness, but Ms Patel said the Tories should not be complacent and, going into the next election, there should be a “Victims’ Law”.

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A shop assistant who witnessed a row between members of two rival groups in an Ipswich town centre store a few hours before 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was stabbed to death has described her shock at the incident.

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