Grieving family finally see police file on dead son, as commissioner Grove steps in
POLICE and crime commissioner Matthew Grove has provided funding to allow a family access to a police file on their dead son.
Mr Grove said he intervened after hearing of the family's "intolerable" experiences with the criminal justice system.
The family, who were still mourning their son's death as a passenger in a car crash, were initially asked to pay £1,600 to see the file.
Speaking at an East Riding Council scrutiny meeting, Mr Grove said: "I spent two hours with the family listening to their concerns about how they were treated by various parts of the criminal justice system following their son's tragic death.
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"It ranged from the trial judge getting their son's name wrong during his summing up to being told they would have to pay £1,600 to see the case file.
"I did not think that was acceptable in the circumstances so I ended up paying the fee myself because I believe that is what people voted me to do."
The dead man's parents first approached him before he was elected as the region's first police and crime commissioner last November.
Since being elected, Mr Grove has pledged to make supporting crime victims and their families one of his top priorities.
He said: "I think it is appalling the way most victims of crime and their families are treated.
"It's generally not a deliberate thing, it's just the way the system works because it is geared around the perpetrator.
"As a result, victims are just treated as an afterthought. The system often turns the unbearable into the intolerable.
"In this particular case, the perpetrator was convicted of careless driving and only said five words in court.
"He never said sorry and had the benefit of being represented by a barrister and a solicitor.
"What I am saying is, where is the fairness in that?"
Mr Grove said he took the decision to pay the charge for access to the case file on the family's behalf after weighting up the "exceptional circumstances" involved.
"I believed they justified my decision because the family were looking for answers and also looking to find some peace after all they had been through.
"It's not something I would do in every case but it is my role to challenge the police and hold them to account."
Mr Grove said the family, who have not been named, were now considering an offer to act as mentors on internal training programmes run by the police.
"They have yet to agree but I hope they will be able to help in some way," said Mr Grove.
"I want to be able to tell the next family – and there will inevitably be a next family – they will not be treated in the same cruel way and if this family can help me achieve that, it will be a change for the better.
"Victim support is not just about tea and sympathy, it's about practical support.
"I also think we tend to overlook the victims of commercial crime and that is something I am looking to change."