The campaigning mother aiming to ‘restore confidence’ in Peterborough’s police force as new crime chief

After fighting over her son’s life, Nicky Massey has already taken on the most important campaign of her life.

By Joel Lamy
Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 4:54 am

So there will be no fear for Labour’s candidate to become the next Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner as she seeks to swing a county which traditionally votes Conservative.

And having battled doctors to make sure her premature son Ethan received a life-saving operation, before turning her attention to road safety and drug dealing, the mum of three wants to use her experiences in the south of the county to implement a community-focused approach to tackling crime elsewhere.

In an interview with the Peterborough Telegraph, the Cambridge city councillor said: “My plan would be to set up community forums where the residents can come in a group or book in one-to-one to say ‘these are my concerns’.

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Nicky Massey

“You’d have a round table with the community to say ‘what’s the problems in your area? What can be done about it? What would you like to see?’ And to come up with action plans with the residents so that it’s all tailor-made.

“People automatically think of crime and the police, but it’s not just the policing aspect of it.

“Ultimately, you don’t want a crime to happen - you want to prevent it happening. That’s what we should be focusing on, that prevention.”

Asked what the biggest crime-related issue are in Peterborough, the events manager for HoverAid, a charity which provides aid to remote communities afflicted with natural disasters, immediately highlights one problem.

“Via the community forums I would like to tackle and discuss the rise in anti-social behaviour that Peterborough sees,” Mrs Massey replied.

“That’s something that needs to be worked with the residents of Peterborough because they know what their issues are. They don’t want someone coming in telling them what their issues are because nine times out 10 if you don’t live there you’re not going to know their whole story.

“It would be to see what can be done holistically and not just through the policing aspect - who else can we ask to provide us with support, whether it’s increased lighting or better CCTV. Do you need better reporting - what is it that you need?

“I want to enact more Neighbourhood Watches. I want to give Neighbourhood Watch more power than it has now.

“The perception from the public with regards to our policing has been going down steadily over the past few years.

“It’s a huge concern and I think it’s because the public don’t feel they’re being listened to. I often hear ‘what’s the point calling the police, they’re not going to come,’ and things like that, which is why I wanted to enact my community forums because there is another way to engage the public and get that confidence back.

“There’s a lot of violence happening in Peterborough at the moment. That needs to be addressed, and that is working with the public to find the causes, working with the city council and other partners including health to see what can be done in order to bring that down.”

Mrs Massey, who is a governor of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, currently lives in Cambridge but grew up in areas including Fleet Hargate.

Her son Ethan was born 16 weeks early, and she recalled: “I spent three years of his life fighting doctors and having to be his champion and having to be his voice.”

When her son needed an operation to fix his bowel, Mrs Massey said doctors told her they would wait for his lungs to grow before undergoing surgery.

After arguing that his bowel problem meant he could not gain enough weight to grow his lungs, she said she convinced Great Ormond Street to change its policy on what it classed as an urgent operation.

Sadly, Ethan later passed away in 2013 from an infection, but fighting over his care convinced Mrs Massey to continue campaigning, beginning with a crossing at a road where children had nearly been hit by a bus before moving onto the world of county lines drug dealing in her role as community safety and health and wellbeing lead on the council.

Mrs Massey said her work as part of a cross-party group helped establish Operation Carmel - a campaign to tackle street based drug dealing in Cambridge - which has been followed up by other police forces, while she also sits on the Cambridge Community Safety Partnership.

Her focus on Peterborough’s issues would include boosting neighbourhood policing who would have a “level of trust” within the community.

She also stated that it was “very unpalatable” that council tax - including the police precept - continued to rise, arguing that the area needs “proper funding” and that she would only increase the precept “with a very heavy heart” if elected.

“I think Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been ignored when it comes to funding and have been for sometime, not just in policing but in education and healthcare as well,” she added.

The focus on neighbourhoods has only been bolstered by the past year, according to Mrs Massey - “What’s coming out of the pandemic is that when the community pulls together we can achieve so much more,” - and she hopes in May to become their new “voice” if she is elected to replace acting commissioner Ray Bisby.

“I’ve already proven to be effective at tackling issues within Cambridge and a lot of these issues can be duplicated across the county and in Peterborough,” the Labour candidate added:

“I’ve grown up not far from all of the areas so I know them. I’m used to being the voice of the community, I’ve held the portfolio role and I know the only way we are going to achieve anything is to make sure the community’s voice is heard.

“And the only way the community’s voice is going to be heard is if they elect me.”