‘CASS+ is a cause that should be implemented nationally.’
Devon and Cornwall Police are now working closely with CASS+ to ensure vital training for their new police officers.
It’s been a real pleasure to have Luke working with us in Plymouth for three days. In that time, he’s learnt about the reasons behind some crimes. He also now particularly understands about the importance of accurate police statements. On top of this, he’s seen what it’s like for anyone facing a Crown Court Judge. He’s seen many cases in court: traffic; harassment; online abuse; substance use; driving offenses; theft; and procession of a bladed article, to name but a few.
Just another normal week
For us, this has been just another normal week, but a real eye-opener for Luke.
Devon and Cornwall Police Officers need to understand what goes on inside our Magistrates’ Courts.
Luke’s been particularly struck by the mental health needs in our community:
I spent three days on a community placement with CASS+ within Plymouth Magistrates’ Court. Prior to my trip I knew very little about the charity but now believe it’s a cause that should be implemented nationally. I, like many others, didn’t give much thought to defendants’ needs and requirements at court compared to witnesses and victims.
I learnt that CASS+ takes the time to support mostly defendants, but at times witnesses and victims. This can range from emotional support at court, making sense of the court proceedings and legal terminology, up to assessments where referrals can be made to an array of other charities to support their needs. One of the main goals of this is to reduce re-offending by treating the defendant as an individual and sticking by them beyond their referrals.
During my three days at the court, I was well accommodated by CASS+, and I met some of their clients and volunteers. They also arranged for me to have time with probation, to sit in the courts, witness services and to speak to a CPS.
In the future, I will definitely tell people to get in touch with their nearest CASS+ office. I want to spread the word within Devon and Cornwall Police.
Everyone needs to know that help is available for anyone who is open to change.
Watch this space to hear from our next Student Police Officer.