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Francesca Bimpson's family's plea for victim support

Francesca Bimpson Centre
Image caption The centre is painted pink as it was Francesca's favourite colour

A father who set up a victim support centre in memory of a Merseyside toddler has called for the new police and crime commissioner to do more to help people affected by crime.

Kieron Bimpson founded the Francesca Bimpson Support and Resource Centre in Huyton in memory of the three-year-old, who died when her aunt's former boyfriend set fire to their home in 2008.

Mr Bimpson said after the devastating arson attack he found himself "in a void".

He said he hopes the person elected to the new PCC role will make a difference for victims of crime.

"I'd love to see them give more support to victims. There's a loophole in the system and access to help is very fragmented.

"I'm looking forward to working with the new PCC to make sure they know we can help people together.

Image caption Francesca was killed in an arson attack in 2008

"The police need to do more themselves - family liaison officers need to be involved longer and victims need more follow-up from police, instead of leaving it weeks between updates, so people know where their case is up to.

"We also need more officers out there on the front line to deter criminals in the first place."

The centre, which aims to help victims deal with all aspects of the aftermath of crime, was officially opened by Merseyside Police Chief Constable Jon Murphy.

Mr Murphy said: "The loss of Francesca was devastating for the family and no-one can truly appreciate the distress and trauma that they have gone through since that night.

"Not only did the family lose their daughter, who I believe was the life and soul of the family, but they also lost their home and have had to overcome a number of other obstacles in the last [few] years."

The new centre offers practical and emotional help including counselling, help filling in housing or compensation forms and a chillout space.

National charity Victim Support has called on PCC candidates to sign up to five pledges to "put victims first".

A spokesman said each local PCC will have responsibility for organising and funding local services for victims of crime - which could lead to a postcode lottery.

They added: "We want to protect and improve services for victims, not turn back the clock or leave some victims to fend for themselves."

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