18. The Scottish Government strategy document "The Scottish Strategy for Victims", hereinafter called The Strategy, was launched in 2001 in response to developments and research within Scotland, Europe and internationally. The Strategy, which has been the subject of review, remains the leading Scottish Government strategic statement on the treatment of victims and their place in the criminal justice system.
19. The focus of the strategy is the recognition that the needs of victims should be placed "at the heart of our criminal justice system". The Strategy was adopted by the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service ( COPFS), police forces and other agencies within the criminal justice community. The Scottish Government (then known as The Scottish Executive) also published The National Standards for Victims of Crime in 2005, telling people what standards they should expect in their dealings with the criminal justice or children's hearing systems.
20. The three main objectives of The Strategy are:-
- To ensure information provision to victims (both in respect of the criminal justice system generally but also concerning the case in which they are involved);
- To ensure provision of emotional and practical support to victims;
- To achieve greater participation by victims in the criminal justice system.
21. Both the European and the Scottish strategic statements relating to victims are set to be reviewed in the near future. The European Justice Commissioner stated in March 2010 "As we work to ensure the rights of the suspected and the accused are fully enforced, we must equally look to the needs of those who fall victims of crime... We must not forget that the right to a fair trial applies as much to the victim as to the defendant........".  European legislation on the 'rights' of victims in the criminal justice system is anticipated in 2011.
22. This inspection has:
- Considered the extent to which the police and COPFS have delivered the objectives of the "Scottish Strategy for Victims 2001" specifically as relates to victims for summary cases which result in court proceedings.
- Carried out an assessment of current service provision set against victim needs from the initial reporting of a crime to the police, through investigation, reporting to COPFS and subsequent action by COPFS at summary level.
- Identified good practice within Scotland and beyond in providing a service to victims of crime for summary cases resulting in court proceedings.
- Examined the extent to which the processes of the police and COPFS could enhance victim participation in the criminal justice system.
- Made recommendations on how the provision of services to victims of crime could be improved by the Police and COPFS as relates to summary crimes resulting in court proceedings.
23. Our inspection methodology included the following elements carried out from November 2010 to May 2011:
- We carried out desk research examining current and former policies of Scottish Government, ACPOS, police forces and COPFS relating to their treatment of victims as relates to summary cases.
- We examined current strategic statements issued by the Scottish Government, ACPOS, police forces and COPFS relating to their treatment of victim as relates to summary proceedings.
- We considered the result of published research including the 2009-2010 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and Scottish Policing Performance Framework 2009-2010.
- We considered previous inspection reports including recommendations made by HMICS and IPS as far as these relate to the treatment of victims. In particular we considered this phase of the report against the findings of the Phase 1 report published in October 2010.
- We made contact with a number of organisations and stakeholder groups intimating the nature of the inspection and invited comment.
- To supplement written submissions we organised a programme of interviews to allow us to examine the perspectives of key stakeholder groups further and in more detail.
- We had meetings with those involved in the criminal justice systems in England and Wales.
- We conducted a survey of the use of Appropriate Adults across Scotland for February and March, 2011 to assess the use of the scheme as relates to vulnerable victims of crime.
- All police forces and COPFS were contacted and informed of the inspection process and given the opportunity to provide good practice.
- Three police forces and their corresponding COPFS areas were visited and interviews carried out with a range of staff. The areas examined were Dumfries and Galloway, Fife and Lothian and Borders (specifically Edinburgh City).
- We interviewed voluntary sector staff providing services to victims in the above force and COPFS areas.
27. Case audit and review
- Assisted by COPFS and police forces we identified 180 crimes with identifiable victims from the three police force areas to carry out a detailed case audit and review. The crimes were assaults and housebreaking/theft of property committed during 2008, 2009 and 2010 which were concluded following the raising of summary proceedings at court.
- We examined the recording of these 180 crimes by the three police forces measuring them against the commitments within the Scottish Strategy for Victims and individual force service standards.
- We examined the COPFS case papers for 163  of these 180 crimes measuring them against the commitments within the Scottish Strategy for Victims and the COPFS policies.
28. Contact with victims
- Following an assessment of each victim to minimise any risk of re-victimisation, 134 of these cases were identified as being suitable for more detailed consultation. Each victim was sent a letter and invited to participate in a consultation process. A total of 58 of the 134 contacted participated in the consultation via a telephone survey and postal questionnaire representing a response rate of 43%.
- The number of responses received from each force area, and percentage response rate of victims contacted was :-
- Dumfries & Galloway - 22 (46%)
- Fife - 18 (45%)
- Lothian and Borders - 18 (38%)
29. The report is presented as a timeline of the route a "typical" victim would take through the Criminal Justice system where the case is dealt with in the summary courts.
30. The stages of the process for both the police and COPFS are as follows:-Chapters 1, 2 and 3 deal with the role of the police, namely the initial reporting and recording of crime ( Chapter 1), police enquiry and investigation ( Chapter 2) and then reporting of a crime to COPFS ( Chapter 3).
32. The nature of the criminal justice process is of course complex and in each of the stages above there may be involvement of both the police and COPFS in each stage.
33. This phase of our inspections represents the majority of cases where court proceedings are raised by COPFS. The following statistics are taken from Scottish Government statistics and provide a context for the report.
34. COPFS/Crime Statistics 2009/2010
|Crimes/Offences reported to police ||901,763|
|Criminal Reports received by COPFS||275,503|
|Number of Trials at Summary Level ||5,572|