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Former Police & Crime Commissioner not charged over alleged indecent image

22 Apr 2020

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided not to charge the former Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) over allegedly sending an indecent image to a woman he met through work

Reporting on the outcome today (22nd April 2020), the Cambs Times quotes a letter sent to the complainant informing her of the decision not to charge, in which a CPS solicitor describes her as 'flirtatious' and says she seemed to 'encourage' the behaviour.

The same report quotes the complainant herself as saying:

“In all honesty I feel let down. Suddenly he’s just a naughty boy and I’m flirty and led him on”.

Katie Russell, spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales, said:

“Rape Crisis is deeply concerned not only by the outcome of this incident but by the CPS solicitor’s comments as reported in the media.

Quotes from the letter received by the complainant seem to reinforce a number victim-blaming myths around sexual violence and abuse.

They suggest consent can be implied by correspondence subjectively deemed ‘flirtatious’, for example, and that responsibility to ‘categorically…shut down’ unwanted sexual behaviour lies with the victim.

The quoted extracts also appear to reject as irrelevant the power, authority and responsibility the position of a Police and Crime Commissioner holds, even though the two parties met in a work context.

If we can’t rely on the Criminal Justice System to uphold our legal definition and public understanding of consent as a positive choice made by someone with capacity to do so, it is little wonder that the vast majority of those subjected to sexual offences never report to the police.

This incident is a reflection of the many ways in which victims and survivors of these traumatic crimes are currently being failed on a regular basis throughout England and Wales. Addressing this wider situation must become and remain an urgent priority for Government.”