Job title: Witness Care Officer Grade: SCALE 5 Role code: EM0704 Status: Police Staff Home Office code: Organisational Support
Main purpose of the role:
Communicate the outcomes of Court hearingsand to explain the meaning and effect of the Hearing outcome including details of any sentence given. To provide support and assistance to victims and witnesses, victims, police officers, professional experts and partnership agencies, in order to ensure 0that victims and witnesses have the confidence to attend court, at the specified times, and to give their best evidence so that the trial process will be effective.
React on the regular updates from the judiciary service; updating, co- ordinating and problem solving issues from the witnesses, victims, police officers, professional experts and partnership agencies, in order to ensure that they are informed and supported throughout the period of the judiciary process, especially in line with the Victim Codes of Practice.
Update and inform the CPS of any victim or witness related issue or other issue which could affect the outcome of a case in order to ensure the witness requirements are known, forward planned and processes initiated to support and safeguard the witness, and assist in the smooth running of the judicial process.
Provide clear overview of the court requirements and flexible timescales, to the witnesses and victims, in order to manage their expectations and to ensure they remain confident to attend Court to give their evidence.
Develop and maintain strong working relationships with professional experts in order to ensure their cooperation to re-arrange their diary commitments in line with the court changes made at short notice in order that they continue to provide regular professional support within the judiciary system.
Collate all contact details of witnesses, from the onset of the court case in order to maintain appropriate contact until the case concludes.
Collate all non-availability information on behalf of victims and witnesses, police officers, and professional experts for consideration by both the CPS and HMCTS in order that a suitable date for a Trial hearing can be selected and to challenge any inappropriate listing where the non-availability information has not been considered appropriately.
Check the accuracy of victim and witness details contained within court orders, such as restraining orders or bail conditions, in order to ensure effective safeguarding of victims and witnesses.
Coordinate the court attendance of police officer resources, and professional experts, in order to minimize the abstraction to front line policing, and the most effective use of public funds respectively.
Record and log every aspect of communications with victims and witnesses, including Criminal Justice agencies, in order to provide an effective audit trail in the event of a complaint or review and to ensure that any complaint can be directed to the correct service provider.
Provide an audit trail to the CPS regarding all communications undertaken with victims and witnesses detailing any issues around non- attendance at court to support the forces obligation to reduce the ineffective trial rates within the judicial process.
Understand and explain the meaning and effect of sentencing outcomes, and role of probation service, to victims and witnesses in order to promote confidence in the criminal justice system.
Provide appropriate support and information victims and witnesses to give them the confidence to give their best evidence.
To act as the point of liaison with CPS, Police, HMCTS or other service providers, on behalf of the victims and witnesses for any enquiry that the Witness Care Unit is unable resolve directly and to take action to ensure that a response to that enquiry is received
Recruitment vetting req.
The Witness Care Officer requires a good level of general education with the ability to act upon their initiative in reactive situations. Is able to identify and consider solutions to problems which may occur and that would result in an adverse outcome in court . It is critical that they is positive to change in order to meet the frequent changes in policy and procedures relating to Victims and witnesses issues.
It is critical that the post holder has the ability to work within a pressured environment, with the minimum of supervision, ensuring that the statutory obligations set out in the Victims code of practice are met. They must also be effective in prioritising their own case load to ensure that time targets are met and any issues are resolved. They must keep supervisors informed of any contentious issues or problems relating to witnesses which could result in an ineffective trial whilst still maintaining the responsibility for seeking solutions any problems that arise.
It is preferable but not essential, that the post-holder will have an understanding of the judicial process and is aware of the roles of internal and external agencies. Good keyboard skills and previous customer service experience are desirable as is the ability to deal with a wide range of computer applications including the typing skills and preparation of a wide range of text productions. Excellent verbal communication skills are required to deal with a diverse range of Victims and witnesses who can at times be angry, abusive, vulnerable or reluctant to engage with the criminal justice process. Good written communication skills are also required in order to deal with correspondence with the Courts, CPS, victims and witnesses and other associated agencies.
The nature of the work within the Criminal justice system can be distressing with the need to deal with victims and witnesses of sensitive cases such as Murder, Rape, Child abuse, serious sexual offences and offences against the person. The work within the Witness Care Unit demands dedication and commitment. Due to the listing practices of HMCTS -Witness Care Officers may be required to extend their working day to meet the business need and to ensure that Victims and witnesses are provided with accurate information regarding court attendance for the following days court business without the need to call upon Police resources to ensure that the information is relayed.
This post is deemed to be a designated post. Vetting clearance is a pre-requisite of employment in designated posts and the post holder will be subject to management vetting assessment every 7 years. National security vetting clearances are reviewed every 10 years.
Analyse critically (level 1)
I recognise the need to think critically about issues. I value the use of analysis and testing in policing. I take in information quickly and accurately. I am able to separate information and decide whether it is irrelevant or relevant and its importance. I solve problems proactively by understanding the reasons behind them, using learning from evidence and my experiences to take action. I refer to procedures and precedents as necessary before making decisions. I weigh up the pros and cons of possible actions, thinking about potential risks and using this thinking to inform our decisions. I recognise gaps and inconsistencies in information and think about the potential implications. I make decisions in alignment with our mission, values and the Code of Ethics.
Collaborative (level 1)
I work cooperatively with others to get things done, willingly giving help and support to colleagues. I am approachable, and explain things well so that I generate a common understanding. I take the time to get to know others and their perspective in order to build rapport. I treat people with respect as individuals and address their specific needs and concerns. I am open and transparent in my relationships with others. I ensure I am clear and appropriate in my communications.
Deliver, support and inspire (level 1)
I take on challenging tasks to help to improve the service continuously and support my colleagues. I understand how my work contributes to the wider police service. I understand it is part of my collective responsibility to deliver efficient services. I take personal responsibility for making sure that I am working effectively to deliver the best service, both individually and with others. I am conscientious in my approach, working hard to provide the best service and to overcome any obstacles that could prevent or hinder delivery. I support the efficient use of resources to create the most value and to deliver the right impact. I keep up to date with changes in internal and external environments. I am a role model for the behaviours I expect to see in others and I act in the best interests of the public and the police service.
Emotionally aware (level 1)
I treat others with respect, tolerance and compassion. I acknowledge and respect a range of different perspectives, values and beliefs within the remit of the law. I remain calm and think about how to best manage the situation when faced with provocation. I understand my own emotions and I know which situations might affect my ability to deal with stress and pressure. I ask for help and support when I need it. I understand the value that diversity offers. I communicate in clear and simple language so that I can be easily understood by others. I seek to understand the thoughts and concerns of others even when they are unable to express themselves clearly.
Innovative and open-minded (level 1)
I demonstrate an openness to changing ideas, perceptions and ways of working. I share suggestions with colleagues, speaking up to help improve existing working methods and practices. I constantly reflect on my own way of working and periodically review processes and procedures for continuous improvements. I adapt to change and am flexible as the need arises while encouraging others to do the same. I learn from my experiences and do not let myself be unduly influenced by preconceptions.
Take ownership (level 1)
I actively identify and respond to problems. I approach tasks with enthusiasm, focusing on public service excellence. I regularly seek feedback to understand the quality of my work and the impact of my behaviour. I recognise where I can help others and willingly take on additional tasks to support them, where appropriate. I give feedback to others that I make sure is understandable and constructive. I take responsibility for my own actions, I fulfil my promises and do what I say I will. I will admit if I have made a mistake and take action to rectify this. I demonstrate pride in representing the police service. I understand my own strengths and areas for development and take responsibility for my own learning to address gaps.
I take into account individual needs and requirements in all of my actions. I understand that treating everyone fairly does not mean everyone is treated the same. I always give people an equal opportunity to express their views. I communicate with everyone, making sure the most relevant message is provided to all. I value everyone's views and opinions by actively listening to understand their perspective. I make fair and objective decisions using the best available evidence. I enable everyone to have equal access to services and information, where appropriate.
I always act in line with the values of the police service and the Code of Ethics for the benefit of the public. I demonstrate courage in doing the right thing, even in challenging situations. I enhance the reputation of my organisation and the wider police service through my actions and behaviours. I challenge colleagues whose behaviour, attitude and language falls below the public's and the service's expectations. I am open and responsive to challenge about my actions and words. I declare any conflicts of interest at the earliest opportunity. I am respectful of the authority and influence my position gives me. I use resources effectively and efficiently and not for personal benefit.
Public service (accredited)
I act in the interest of the public, first and foremost. I am motivated by serving the public, ensuring that I provide the best service possible at all times. I seek to understand the needs of others to act in their best interests. I adapt to address the needs and concerns of different communities. I tailor my communication to be appropriate and respectful to my audience. I take into consideration how others want to be treated when interacting with them. I treat people respectfully regardless of the circumstances. I share credit with everyone involved in delivering services.
I ensure that my decision-making rationale is clear and considered so that it is easily understood by others. I am clear and comprehensive when communicating with others. I am open and honest about my areas for development and I strive to improve. I give an accurate representation of my actions and records. I recognise the value of feedback and act on it. I give constructive and accurate feedback. I represent the opinions of others accurately and consistently. I am consistent and truthful in my communications. I maintain confidentiality appropriately.
Customer Services (Level 4)
Able to identify and interpret more complex problems affecting customers. Suggests improvements in customer services and generates solutions on behalf of customers, taking the necessary action to deliver these solutions. Regularly provides enhanced and high level customer service. Demonstrates the ability to select information for communication to customers and improve the flow of information between the organisation and customers. Actively seeks opportunities for improving working relationships.
Health and Safety (Level 3)
Has a basic understanding of Health and Safety issues affecting the current role and working environment. Takes responsibility for personal safety and the safety of others. Aware of hazards and reports problems identified to line manager. Understands and minimises the physical risk of injury through the use of proper manual handling procedures.
Information Management and Technology (Level 4)
Can conduct basic computer searches and can correctly interpret data generated. Can create and amend records, according to role requirement. Knows established rules and protocols. Understands impact of data quality, and is self-monitoring on data quality issues.
Intelligence Gathering and Analysis (Level 3)
Able to gain intelligence from various sources and is aware of how to give that information to the relevant department and in what format it is required. Able to liaise with intelligence personnel if necessary to gain advice as to the gathering and analysis of information.
Knowledge of Police Environment and Policy (Level 3)
Has a basic awareness of current policing issues, the environment in which Kent Police and / or Essex Police operate and developments in the way the County is policed. Possesses sufficient knowledge of the roles of the various Areas / Departments, organisation structures and police systems to operate effectively. Understands appreciates and adheres to working procedures, practices and policies relevant to the current role. Familiar with Force goals and local business plan objectives.
Management of Police Information (MOPI) (Level 4)
Full compliance with Level 3. Has successfully completed all standard relevant Information Management and Security training package(s). Accurate use of Government Security Classification (GSC). Ensures physical and digital records are stored with appropriate security relevant to the sensitivity of the documents and has working understanding of appropriate National Retention Schedules. Is able to quality assure own records management processes as well as those of any staff for whom they have supervisory responsibility. Is aware of where to seek further support in relation to Records management within force when necessary. If nominated as an Information Asset Assistant is familiar with the NPCC Information Asset Owners Handbook.
Office Organisation (Level 3)
Has a good understanding of office routines and procedures, and possesses skills in planning, organising and monitoring work. Understands record keeping, filing and data storage systems, and can ensure that information is stored accurately / logically, within Force guidelines. Able to organise the provision and storage of office supplies, stationery and consumable items etc. to ensure that appropriate stock levels are maintained. Able to undertake basic research and supply information in a well presented manner. Can draft and prepare routine documents.
Office Technology (Level 4)
Demonstrates advanced skills in the use of one or more office software products Able to use these packages to enhance the quality or presentation of work required within the role. Manages data files and file structures. Provides on the job training and guidance to other staff in the use of specific or specialist software, if required. Familiar with established IT rules and protocols and shows a good understanding of data protection requirements.
Risk Management (Level 3)
Demonstrates an awareness of personal risk management issues, challenges or difficulties likely to affect the post holder in the execution of their duties. Able to anticipate risks likely to affect their work and knows how to communicate the likelihood and possible impacts of such events to line managers or supervisors.
Victim Support (Level 3)
Able to support victims, their families and other witnesses as required during initial contact with the police. Aware of other organisations or departments that can be used as a reference in order that they receive the desired support if it is beyond the scope of the officer to deal directly.