255. This joint thematic inspection examined the service provided to victims of crime by both the police and COPFS for those crimes which were commenced in the summary courts. We measured the service provided against the three objectives of the Scottish Strategy for Victims and considered the published policies of the three police forces examined and COPFS. Our inspection was supported by a detailed audit of crimes and a telephone survey which obtained the personal views and observations of victims of crime.
256. Overall we found that in some areas the service provided by both the police and COPFS to victims of crime was good. In particular we found evidence that the police offer a good service when a crime is initially reported and that the service provided to victims by COPFSVIA was of a high standard albeit that the number of cases referred to VIA was relatively small particularly for cases commenced in the summary courts.
257. We make a number of recommendations within this report that aim to enhance the quality of service offered to victims including areas such as repeat victimisation and the identification and reporting of vulnerability. We note the developments within COPFS to promote its commitment to victim and witnesses but found areas where this could be improved including information provision and the keeping of data for meaningful statistical analysis. We also examined the process post trial and make recommendations relating to the return of productions to victims and others.
258. An objective of the strategy we examined was victim's participation in the criminal justice system. Specifically we explored how a victim's view on the impact the crime had on them could be captured, reported and used throughout the criminal justice process. We noted work in this area in England and Wales and made recommendations to enhance the profile of the victim by providing information on the impact a crime has had on them.
259. Throughout the inspection there was one issue which emerged consistently throughout our work. This related to how the police and COPFS communicated with victims of crime and kept them informed of the progress of their case. In this regard The Scottish Strategy for Victims clearly states that a victim should receive proactive notification of what is happening with their case.
260. The evidence we gathered throughout the inspection from The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2009/2010, The Scottish Policing Performance Framework 2009/2010 and our telephone and postal survey of victims provided clear evidence that the primary source of dissatisfaction for victims was with not being kept adequately informed, particularly around the final outcome of their case.
261. We did find evidence of improvement by some police forces in this area. However we also found that the current policy of COPFS, which relies on the victim "opting in" to request information on their case, falls short of what was committed to by COPFS in the Scottish Strategy for Victims. There was strong evidence from our telephone survey that victims were dissatisfied with the service provided by COPFS in providing updates on the progress of cases and that was particularly pronounced in relation to being informed on the final result of their case.
262. Consequently we consider this issue to be a principal finding from our inspection and are of view, as outlined in Recommendations 3 and 9, that to improve victim's satisfaction police forces and COPFS should set and deliver clear service standards for the proactive updating of victims as to the progress of their case, including the outcome.