Action against domestic violence in North-East and North Yorkshire is "disintegrating", Labour warns

Yvette Cooper: police funding slashed to dangerous levels

Yvette Cooper: police funding slashed to dangerous levels

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Parliamentary Correspondent

ACTION against domestic violence across the region is “disintegrating”, Labour has warned – after a big fall in prosecutions and convictions.

The Opposition revealed staggering drops in the number of people convicted in the North-East and North Yorkshire in just two years, of up to 27.6 per cent.

In three force areas – the exception was North Yorkshire – the number of prosecutions plunged even faster, between 2010-11 and 2012-13.

Crucially, the falls were much greater than the declines in the number of domestic violence incidents reported to forces, the official figures showed.

In Durham, complaints fell by 5.6 per cent – but prosecutions (down 21.2 per cent) and convictions (19.8 per cent) plummeted far further.

And, in North Yorkshire, there was a huge leap in complaints – of 26.8 per cent – yet prosecutions and convictions dropped by similar proportions.

Yvette Cooper, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said the blame lay with Home Secretary Theresa May, which had slashed police funding to a dangerous level.

She said: “The scale of abuse is shocking, yet the Government and the Home Secretary have turned their backs.

“The clock is being turned back on years of progress. On Theresa May's watch, action against domestic violence in the criminal justice system is disintegrating before our eyes.”

Labour also highlighted similar falls in court actions against suspected rapists since the last general election, over the same two-year period.

The proportion of reported offences that resulted in convictions that fell in Cleveland and Durham – and the proportion leading to prosecutions dropped in Durham.

Durham force was asked to comment on the figures, but did not respond. North Yorkshire said it was unable to do so until further analysis of the figures.

Labour has vowed to publish domestic abuse and sexual violence league tables for police forces, in a bid to expose poor performance and raise standards.

And it plans to appoint a ‘Violence Against Women and Girls Commissioner’, to strengthen the law whenever appropriate.

Ms Cooper praised Vera Baird, Labour’s elected police and crime commissioner (PCC) in Northumbria, for making domestic violence a top priority.

Ms Baird had ordered detailed sampling of cases that had not been taken to court, to find out the reasons why – an initiative also interesting Cleveland and Durham.

But Ms Cooper said: “Overall, at a time when the police and Crown Prosecution Service are under real pressure, there has been no signal from the Government that this is a priority.

The Northern Echo:

“Specialist domestic violence courts have closed and there has been a drop in special prosecutors. These are really complex cases – but there is no longer the expertise to work on them.”

Across the country, reports of domestic violence to police increased by 11 per cent from 2010-11 to 2012-13 - but the percentage of successful prosecutions dropped by 14 per cent.

Comments (6)

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9:51am Wed 12 Mar 14

behonest says...

So the majority of Labour Police Commissioners in this Region are failing to make prosecuting for domestic violence a priority. Shame on them.

And shame on Labour for trying to twist this and score political points by again trying to blame 'government cuts', rather than their own failing police commissioners. Perhaps these Labour commissioners could encourage their Chief Constables to divert resources towards tackling this abuse, rather than on hotels, meals and drinks, expensive cars, trips abroad, etc, etc.
So the majority of Labour Police Commissioners in this Region are failing to make prosecuting for domestic violence a priority. Shame on them. And shame on Labour for trying to twist this and score political points by again trying to blame 'government cuts', rather than their own failing police commissioners. Perhaps these Labour commissioners could encourage their Chief Constables to divert resources towards tackling this abuse, rather than on hotels, meals and drinks, expensive cars, trips abroad, etc, etc. behonest
  • Score: 6

11:25am Wed 12 Mar 14

David Lacey says...

Here, here. There is an exact match between the introduction of the useless Commissioners and these figures. I wonder why Red Rob didn't spot that?
Here, here. There is an exact match between the introduction of the useless Commissioners and these figures. I wonder why Red Rob didn't spot that? David Lacey
  • Score: 2

12:37pm Wed 12 Mar 14

loan_star says...

It could also be a case that a lot of the reported instances of domestic abuse are a case of two people falling out and nothing more!
It could also be a case that a lot of the reported instances of domestic abuse are a case of two people falling out and nothing more! loan_star
  • Score: 1

12:38pm Wed 12 Mar 14

loan_star says...

As for Merrick, he probably just hangs around his labour heroes asking for a story from them to have a go at the government about, instead of trying to be impartial like the Echo claims its correspondents are meant to be!
As for Merrick, he probably just hangs around his labour heroes asking for a story from them to have a go at the government about, instead of trying to be impartial like the Echo claims its correspondents are meant to be! loan_star
  • Score: 1

2:06pm Wed 12 Mar 14

behonest says...

By the way, I accept Commissioners were not elected in time to have much chance to improve the 2012/13 figures but my criticism still stands.

Instead of Labour complaining now that "ACTION against domestic violence across the region is “disintegrating”
, they should be (and should have been) urging their police commissioners in the region to make this a priority, instead of trying on the same old 'Tory cuts' excuse, again.
By the way, I accept Commissioners were not elected in time to have much chance to improve the 2012/13 figures but my criticism still stands. Instead of Labour complaining now that "ACTION against domestic violence across the region is “disintegrating” , they should be (and should have been) urging their police commissioners in the region to make this a priority, instead of trying on the same old 'Tory cuts' excuse, again. behonest
  • Score: 2

7:55pm Wed 12 Mar 14

spragger says...

Labour the Doom Mongers, the real & alive Glass Half empty party
They find black clouds on the sunniest of day's
- Who believes all their guff .. . .
Labour the Doom Mongers, the real & alive Glass Half empty party They find black clouds on the sunniest of day's - Who believes all their guff .. . . spragger
  • Score: 1

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