• Plea for an urgent review of women’s safety rejected by the mayor

    Last night, I put a motion to the full Council as follows:

    Urgent Review of Safer Communities policies and priorities

    for the protection and care of women in Torbay

    That this Council requests that the Mayor, in collaboration with the Executive Lead for Safer Communities, lead an urgent review of the priorities and policies of Safer Communities for the protection and care of women in the Bay. That this review be carried out in public, include invitations to the Police and Crime Commissioner and Bay MPs, and involve the participation of all councillors, as the elected representatives of their respective wards, throughout the review.

    Council calls for this review in light of the level of crimes against women, including evidence of shocking increases in assaults (both physical and psychological), sexual assaults, rapes and child sex abuse in our Bay.

    Proposed: Councillor Julien Parrott

    Seconded: Councillor Darren Cowell

    I am sorry to have to report that the mayor rejected the opportunity for councillors to debate the issue there and then, denying councillors the chance to vote to set up the urgent review that is clearly necessary. Instead, he chose to pass the matter to one of his secret ‘Policy Development Groups’ which will sit on it, and ineffectually debate the matter in private before burying it in the hope that it will go away. In my view, this is a failure of the mayor’s duty to protect the public, and the Bay’s women in particular.

    Please accept my assurance that it will not go away. I am already looking at other ways to get the review we need including exploring the matter with council officers who share my worries. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Councillor Cowell for his support in seconding my motion, and say that I know that many of my councillor colleagues from all parties also support my call for an urgent review. We must not give up, despite the mayor’s intransigence, and I will keep you updated on the issue of women’s safety in future bulletins.

    Here is the full text of my speech to last night’s council that outlines the case for a review:

    Madam Chairman,

    I would guess that most if not all of us here have a female family member, friend or close acquaintance here in our Bay who has suffered violence or the threat of physical violence from a male. However, you may not know about it, and it may be going on right now. Please think about that as I spend the next few moments making what I believe to be an overwhelming case for an urgent, full and public review of our Safer Communities policies and priorities with the objective of better protecting the women of our Bay.

    Public safety is part of the core business of this Council, and I believe that freely available evidence now shows that things are so bad that we need to look at women’s safety in particular.

    I will use my short time this evening to say what the review that I seek should be, what it should not be and to provide you with some of the evidence as to why it is needed so desperately.

    The review must be about women’s safety in our Bay. Not some politically correct, all-embracing version examining the safety of women and men. It must be gender specific because the evidence dictates that it must be gender specific. Because it is women, specifically, that are suffering from the most appalling prevalence of almost casual sexual assaults, rape, violent assaults and general brutality.

    Similarly, the review should ignore the now familiar mantra regarding budget cuts and dwindling public resources, as though that is some kind of excuse. The review that I am calling for is for a thorough investigation into how we are using the resources we do have, our policies and our priorities and their impact on the safety of women. This is because only when we are truly satisfied that we are doing everything we can, can we make a credible case and lobby for more.

    The evidence is that we are failing, and the review that I am calling for is required urgently to save future victims.

    Finally, the notion that we are no worse than other parts of the UK and that we are better than some is a pitiful non-excuse for inaction. When people voted for an elected mayor they did not vote for an elected mayor so that our Bay would be average, or slightly worse than average; they voted for a mayor so that we could be better than other local authorities. Yet we are failing women - fifty percent of our population or more are not safe.

    So to the evidence for my call for a review, and make no mistake, this litany of unremitting viciousness is quite evenly spread across each of our three towns. The male perpetrators are aged 20 up to over 80 and include the unemployed, professionals and pensioners.

    Back in March 2011 the then Government Office of the South West reported to a group of health professionals here in the Bay that 34 per cent of all women in the South West up to the age of 19, claimed to have suffered a sexual assault of some kind.

    2013 (latest) figures from our own Bay Safer Communities team show crimes of violence are up almost eight per cent; sexual assaults are up over 22 per cent; and rapes are up over 33 per cent. In the vast, vast majority of these cases, the victims are women and the perpetrators are male.

    Latest Devon and Cornwall Police figures show that Torbay now suffers more violent crime than the city of Plymouth.

    Last year, the Bay saw huge increases in the numbers of cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation – mostly involving young women under the age of consent.

    A sample of just two weeks of court records (9 October and 16 October this year, and I am grateful to the Herald Express that it publishes such important data as a public service) shows 36 proven cases of violence against women, most involved assault by beating, but there were also six rapes, four against young women under 16. This record of misery continues week on week and I know of many women who read and check these figures every single week.

    Madam Chairman, Mr Mayor, fellow councillors, I fear that these figures are greatly underestimating the levels of brutality against women. Recent reports of the police practice of ‘no criming’ have apparently uncovered discounting of 20 per cent of all cases of rape, and 25 per cent of sex offences.

    Ofsted, on the issue of child sexual exploitation, reported just two weeks ago that, among other things, Councils are not making links between children missing from school and sexual exploitation; and local authorities’ efforts to increase community awareness of child sexual exploitation tend to be reactive and ad hoc.

    In addition, I have unimpeachable reports of organised prostitution in Torquay and Paignton that brings with it pimps and their violence, intimidation, drugs, trafficking and associated criminal behaviour, all centred on the exploitation of vulnerable women.

    Mr Mayor, our Bay is a beautiful place that is being disfigured by both casual and organised abuse towards women. Please allow this motion to be debated now and thereby allow fellow councillors the chance to show their support for all the women of our Bay.



Julien Parrott, UKIP

Councillor for Ellacombe Ward, 2007 to date
Executive Lead for Adults and Children
Torbay Borough Council Unitary Authority

julien campaign

11 November 2017

A brief update ...

I realise that I keep apologising for not maintaining this website! I really hope that I will be able to do something with it in the near future, but I know that my fellow Ellacombe residents understand that my priority is with my ward work and with my work for children and adults across the Bay as Executive Lead councillor.

In the meantime, an update for my fellow Ellacombe residents: please note that my contact details have changed. If you want to discuss a local issue with me, please see below for my new contact arrangements.

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Cllr Julien Parrott, Torbay Council, Town Hall, Torquay TQ1 3DR

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During the Civic Year

2013-2014, I had the honour of being elected Chairman of Torbay Council.

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