Tackling low rape convictions and domestic abuse high priorities for Labour crime chief candidate

Tackling low convictions rates for rape and domestic abuse are high priorities for the Labour candidate to be the next Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner.

By Joel Lamy
Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 4:55 am

Nicky Massey revealed in an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph that she is a survivor of domestic abuse and that “it’s something we still need to tackle and which I’m very passionate about”.

The Cambridge city councillor added: “I’ve been leading on the domestic abuse conference in the city for some years now.

“We still have this issue that women are dying - although it’s not just women - and we need to do more to help them reach out. It’s something I’ve worked on with Women’s Aid.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The launch of Nicky Massey's campaign last year

The portfolio holder for community safety in the city wants to see workplaces lead the way in supporting survivors as in cases of domestic abuse where a woman dies there are “normally indications at work”.

She continued: “This pattern seems to be everywhere of people disclosing abuse in the workplace and their colleagues not knowing what to do with that information and not doing anything.”

She said having employees who know how to respond when someone confides in them “could help so many more people become free of domestic abuse,” although she expressed concern over long-term funding, including for men’s support services such as ManKind.

It is partially for this reason she wants to help deliver a county-wide conference, while plans for male survivor conference were halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs Massey added: “We need to look at our victim support hub for sure and violence reduction unit and see what changes need to be made in both of those to support more people.

“We are so much luckier than other forces, but there is more that can be done. It’s about getting it right first time without having to say sorry.

“It’s not just physical abuse but coercive controlling abuse.”

Domestic abuse is one of the mum of three’s main priorities if elected in May, alongside anti-social behaviour and violence and sexual crime.

The latter two are big issues in Peterborough, she claimed, adding: “Unfortunately, we don’t have the power to say we can address the issue through the courts as the low amount of rape convictions needs to be dealt with - it’s really been brushed under the carpet.”

The issue recently became headline news after The End Violence Against Women coalition took the Crown Prosecution Service to court, claiming that it had made changes to rape prosecution policy which has seen conviction rates fall.

The CPS has denied the allegation with the case going before the Court of Appeal.

Mrs Massey said: “It’s less than 10 per cent of rape crimes that actually get prosecuted. That’s something that needs to be looked at and something as a PCC I will be shouting about to try and make a change at the CPS.

“At the moment they’re saying there’s not enough evidence, but that’s the same for domestic abuse.

“Domestic abuse doesn’t go to court because the CPS decline to proceed with it, and that is devastating for anyone who has been brave enough to come forward to ask for the help from the police and for the police officers themselves who would have completed dossiers on these cases, only for the CPS to say ‘we’re not going to proceed’.

“They are national issues but they affect Peterborough as well as they do everywhere else.”

Another highly publicised issue is the police relationship with minority groups, and Mrs Massey said she was aware of police officers in Cambridge getting stopped on numerous occasions because they are black.

“It’s the same force, so it’s going to be the same (in Peterborough),” she claimed.

“The only way we’re going to address that is working with our young people and listening.

“There is a lot of feeling that they’re being discriminated against. When I’ve asked for police data it doesn’t match that, but that doesn’t mean the police data is right.”