Violence Against Women and Girls

Meeting: 
PCC on 2012-05-31
Session date: 
May 31, 2012
Reference: 
2012/0022
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (MOPC) & Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner, MPS)

Question

Jennette Arnold (AM): Chair, we did, with your support, want to just raise the issue about violence against women and girls, especially the domestic violence promise which we welcome from the Mayor. The Mayor said in his 2012 manifesto,

'I will work with the Police, Boroughs, National Health Service, Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service to commission and fund a pan-London domestic violence service and maintain the number of Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA).'

Those are Independent Domestic Violence Advocates. Now, I have two pages of questions so clearly I will not be able to address those, Chair. If I can just seek an assurance from the Mayor though that given the importance of this issue to certainly 51% of the population, will he give an assurance that this policy will go through thorough and transparent consultation, allowing input

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Absolutely.

Jennette Arnold (AM): Can I finish? From boroughs, the Health Service and particularly from domestic violence organisations? I say this, Mr Mayor, and you know where I am coming from, as somebody who was there at the start of the pan-London domestic violence project that kicked off in 2000, we regretted it that you did not feel able to support it and finished it in 2008.

So, as we have said, before you start this new policy area for development, will you have the widest and the most thorough consultation and ensure that round the table are those domestic violence organisations who currently work with the IDVAs who, for those who do not know, these are workers who work with the most severe cases, those at risk of homicide. So, can we have your assurance?

Answer

Answer for Violence Against Women and Girls

Answer for Violence Against Women and Girls

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (MOPC) & Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commissioner, MPS)

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Absolutely and obviously I pay tribute to the work that you have done over many years, Jennette. On this I think what we did with the Rape Crisis Centre planning, Rape Crisis Centre provision was good and important but clearly, as everybody knows, this is a serious area of crime in London that needs addressing. It needs extra care, extra thought, extra resource and you are certainly right that before going ahead with making this pledge concrete we will consult with all the bodies that you describe and that is really the role of this body, to bring those bodies together in order to improve coverage in London. I think the problem we were trying to address is the patchiness of the IDVA service and certainly we will want to do it in as consensual a way as possible.

Jeannette Arnold (AM): So, we will pool our concerns together and forward them on to you, Mayor. Also, we will be asking the Commissioner to give us an update. At the February meeting the Commissioner suggested that the way you saw lessons to be learned from other forces, such as Greater Manchester, in respect of service provision for victims of rape and you undertook to provide an update of the action plan. I do not know where that is, Commissioner, since you spoke about this in February. Can you say quickly where that is, or will you write to us about that?

Bernard Hogan-Howe (Commission of Metropolitan Police): First of all, we said that we would look at other forces that might have a better record than we did at that time and Greater Manchester was suggested so we sent to Greater Manchester. What we found is that they do similar things to the Metropolitan Police Service so we could not find anything too much to learn from, although we reinvigorated some of the things we do already. What we did find was they had a different way of recording some things and, for example, they had more 'no crimes' in their records than we did. The consequence of that was it affected the detection rate, so therefore sometimes statistics can be misleading in indicating that someone is better or worse at something on paper. So, we did have a look. We were not sure that there was something in practice that we could change but they certainly had a different recording method and we thought that contributed to a different performance. All that said, the Metropolitan Police Service and Manchester still have a better performance than many throughout the rest of the country in terms of rape detection.

What we have put in place is to work far harder with the CPS around our charging decisions because we have found a backlog and that has really managed to improve just getting the cases to court quickly and more effectively. Mark [Rowley] told me, on my way here, even in the last few weeks we have started to see a change in the performance there where we have seen far more detections although, as you know, it is an incredibly complex area when there is an existing relationship between individuals.

Jennette Arnold (AM): Can we return to that, Chair?

Joanne McCartney (Chair): We certainly will do. Mr Mayor, we have been informed that you have to leave. You have another engagement, I believe, so can I just thank you both for attending this morning.