Final year MSci Forensic Investigation student, Elli Sarvari, discusses her placement with Staffordshire Police in the Justice Services Department.
Starting in January 2018, as part of my MSci Forensic Investigation degree, I undertook a placement. I was luckily enough to be given the opportunity to work alongside Staffordshire Police in the Justice Services Department. In Justice Services I was based within the Vulnerable Victim Unit (VVU). The Unit is newly formed and aims to “enable Staffordshire Police to be better and more consistent in its delivery of services to victims and witnesses, particularly the most vulnerable.” The VVU achieve their aim through conducting research and developing current strategies. They are also a reference point for both external (Criminal Justice Partners) and internal (Office of Police and Crime Commissioner) work surrounding victims.
Whilst working alongside the VVU I conducted some research. The research centered around Special Measures, which is an entitlement for any victim or witness identified as vulnerable or intimidated as per the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. Special Measures are a form of support that an identified vulnerable or intimidated victim or witness can use in court. These include support such as screening from the defendant when presenting in court and removal of wigs and gowns. My research centered around the process of applying for Special Measures and, if it was effective, to help improve the service to victims and witnesses. I was able to access live systems used between the Police and the Criminal Justice System to conduct the research. I was ultimately able to provide recommendations to Staffordshire Police in how they could improve their service to victims in relation to Special Measures.
Alongside conducting the research, I was able to attend meetings surrounding the topic of victims and witnesses, such as the Victim and Witness Service Improvement Group chaired by ACC Barnett – who is also the National Police Lead for Victims and Witnesses; I conducted environmental scanning the shared to the meeting attendees. I was also given the opportunity to undertake some scoping on behalf of ACC Barnett surrounding research into a National Victim Strategy.
I had a fantastic experience at my placement, and it gave me irreplaceable knowledge. I am very thankful for the opportunity and I would advise anyone given the opportunity to take a placement to do so. I was able to network and learn about the wider area of jobs available to me. I just want to thank the VVU and Staffordshire Police for giving me the opportunity.