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Witness Care Unit

Who we are

The Essex Police County Witness Care Unit can offer support and advice to victims and witnesses involved in cases in which someone has been charged with an offence and is being prosecuted by the courts.

The Unit is staffed by a team of Witness Care Officers, who provide a single point of contact for victims and witnesses throughout the life of a case; from when the defendant is charged through to conclusion.

The Essex Police County Witness Care Unit was formed in August 2011. The team was set up as part of the No Witness, No Justice project, a joint Police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) initiative that aims to ensure that witnesses are better informed, better prepared and better supported throughout any court proceedings.

What we do

A Witness Care Officer has responsibilities under the Victims' Code of Practice (VCOP) and Witness Charter and should:
  • Keep victims informed of the date, location and outcome of any criminal Crown and Magistrates court hearings in the case, within 1 working day of the Witness Care Unit receiving the information from the court. 
  • In cases where the suspect pleads not guilty, discuss and co-ordinate any needs a victim may have and refer the victim to a relevant support group or agency where appropriate. 
  • Inform a victim within 1 working day of the Witness Care Unit receiving notification from the CPS that the victim is required to give evidence at court. 
  • Explain to the victim what to expect when they attend court, and provide access to the Going to Court DVD 
  • Offer the victim a visit to the court before the trial date to familiarise themselves with the building. 
  • Inform a victim of the sentence given to the suspect, including a short explanation about the meaning and effect of the sentence. 
  • Discuss with the victim where relevant a referral to the Probation Service Victim Contact Scheme. 

Support and advice

As a victim or witness of crime, or a friend or family member of someone who has experienced crime, you may feel you need some additional support.

If you are a victim, witnesses or family member of someone who has experienced a crime, please look at the advice in the advice section of our Essex Police website detailing specialist agencies who can offer help and advice, dependant on the type of crime you have experienced. If you are unable to find the help and support you require please do not hesitate to contact the Essex Police County Witness Care Unit for further information.

How to contact us

By telephone

Call the non-emergency Essex Police number 101 followed by extension 484024 or extension 484009

By email

[email protected] 
[email protected] 

Please note, in the event of an emergency, you should call 999.

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