Juries may need to be scrapped in rape trials because of the dominance of ‘rape myths’ in society and the shockingly low charging and conviction rates.
Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport, will call in Parliament today for an urgent independent inquiry into the crisis engulfing the criminal justice system’s approach to rape cases.
This would include an examination into why the numbers of rapes charged by the Crown Prosecution Service has plummeted at the same time as reporting rates have soared and why there are such low conviction rates, especially for date and acquaintanceship rape.
Crucially Ms Coffey also wants a wide ranging inquiry to examine if juries are the best way to deliver justice in rape cases.
Greater Manchester has the fourth lowest conviction rate for rape amongst the twenty largest police forces – only Surrey, Cheshire and Northumbria have lower rates.
Thursday July 19 2018
Hundreds of lives are being put at risk each year because adults with mental health problems are ‘found and forgotten’ after going missing, according to a Parliamentary Inquiry.
Ann Coffey – head of the ‘Inquiry into safeguarding missing adults who have mental health issues’ by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults – said that going missing should be a ‘red flag moment’ which ought to trigger help.
But instead tens of thousands of adults nationally are left alone and isolated with no support on their return home.
There are about 126,000 incidents of adults going missing annually. Up to 600 missing people a year are found dead: the most commonly known cause being suicide.
The inquiry heard that about 80 per cent of adults who go missing are experiencing mental health problems and up to one third go missing again.
Ann Coffey MP has received an assurance from the Government that cuts to train services at Heaton Chapel station will be reversed in time for Christmas.
Ms Coffey, MP for Stockport, wrote to the Government expressing concern about cuts in services from May 20 and chaotic timetabling, which threatens dangerous overcrowding on platforms.
Jo Johnson, the rail minister, has now written back to Ms Coffey.
“Due to unforeseen infrastructure problems the delivery of the Bolton electrification project has been delayed. Network Rail has recently advised us that this project will be delivered during September/October 2018 which will allow for the timetable improvements to take place from December 2018.
“Completion of electrification on the Bolton corridor should see restoration of four trains an hour towards Manchester at these stations.”
Ms Coffey welcomed the reassurance but said:
“I will be monitoring this latest pledge closely.
“It is good that we can see light at the end of the tunnel but until December my constituents will continue to endure commuter hell with unacceptable reductions in services and chaotic timetabling resulting in big gaps at peak periods and the fear of crowd control problems.”
Heaton Chapel, in Ms Coffey’s constituency, is one of the busiest stations within Greater Manchester with over 800,000 passengers per year. Northern rail bosses are devising plans to deal with potential crowds at Heaton Chapel and Levenshulme stations when services at both stations are temporarily cut from four to three trains an hour from May 20 due to delays in the electrification of the Manchester to Preston line.
Ms Coffey said she was disappointed that Mr Johnson’s letter did not properly address all the points in her original letter, particularly the dangers of crowd control problems caused by the bunching up of services. For example, all three trains during the morning rush hour will arrive at the station within a 15 minute window and then there will be a large 49 minute gap between the 8.35 and 9.24 peak morning services.
In his letter Mr Johnson merely admitted: “There are still challenges around the spread of services, which we will be working with Network Rail to attempt to improve.”
Ms Coffey added: “This is rather vague. I will hold the government to this as there are major concerns about the chaotic timings of services and the dangers of overcrowding that poses for local rail users.”