Becoming a Victim


Today, I went to meet a friend for a cup of coffee on Long Acre by Covent Garden. During our discussion my wallet and Elsa's cell phone - which she had unwisely entrusted to me for the day - were stolen from my coat on the back of my chair.

I went to the police station to report the crime, and thats when it happened: I became a victim. Instead of a crime report, the police issued me with a Victim Care Card "to be given to the victim during the initial investigation of crime." This card promises that the police will treat me "with dignity and respect." Certainly, a victim deserves nothing less.

To prove that I have been treated with all the dignity and respect I deserve, the card contains a check list. All of the items have been checked off for me by the officer.

The officer should have discussed with you his/her role as the initial investigator of your crime.

"I won't be investigating the crime" he told me.

The officer should have discussed any particular vulnerability that you feel may have.

"Do you feel particularly vulnerable?" he asked me.

The officer should have given you crime prevention advice.

"You should keep your wallet on your person," he advised me. And so on.

By far my favourite part of the VCC is the flow chart which outlines The Next Steps. First, the crime is recorded on the police system. Then, the crime is reviewed and issued a "crime number." Then one of two things can happen: Either the crime is transferred to an investigating officer ("for further investigation") or the investigation is closed. At no point in the chart do the police entertain the possibility of solving the crime. This is whats known as managing expectations.

My expectations of whistle-blowing bobbies storming into Cafe Nero and getting my wallet back have been managed. I am instead invited to call the Victim Support Charity on their supportline for "further help". Not for anything to do with my stolen wallet but for help with all the psychological stress and trauma of being a victim.

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