A NEW victims’ code has been introduced by Wiltshire Police covering the support victims receive from reporting a crime to post-trial support.

The code will allowvictims the opportunity to read a Victim Personal Statement in court directly to offenders.

Up to now judges have been able to read these privately but victims were not able to read them aloud.

Also for the first time, businesses – victims of 9.2 million crimes committed each year – will be able to have their say by writing an impact statement to tell the court how a crime has affected them.

The new code sets out enhanced support for victims of the most serious crime, persistently targeted and vulnerable or intimidated victims.

It also includes a section dedicated to the needs of children and young people, their parents and guardians.

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “Being a victim of crime can be distressing, and the journey through the criminal justice system, for both victims and witnesses can be challenging.

“One of my key priorities as commissioner is to put victims at the heart of that process and to improve services both to victims and witnesses.

“I am delighted that the Victims’ Code comes into force today because it sets out victims’ entitlements and makes clear that criminal justice agencies are legally required to meet their obligations.”

Detective Chief Inspector Deb Smith, head of volume crime for Wiltshire Police, said: “The new code will ensure that victims of crime receive the best possible service from Wiltshire Police and partner criminal justice agencies with support and a level of service that is tailored to their individual needs.”