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Labour 'would boost victims rights'

Rape cases that are dropped by the police would be reviewed under Labour plans to boost the rights of victims, Yvette Cooper will say.

The Shadow Home Secretary will pledge to give victims a "strong voice" and warn the low rate of allegations being pursued is "shameful".

Councils would be given new powers over the way local police forces are run, including a say in the appointment of commanders and the ability to set the priorities for neighbourhood policing at street level, under the reforms being set out.

Labour would also promote "merged services" between police and councils and introduce new professional standards in policing.

Ms Cooper will warn that vital public services including policing, the NHS and social care, face a potential "existential crisis" if the Conservatives win the next election.

In a speech to the Fabian Society, she will insist Labour is focusing on reforms that give more power to individuals and communities but stand ready to make tough decisions about making savings.

" Right now the vital public services we depend on are under growing threat," Ms Cooper will say.

"Neighbourhood policing is being drastically cut back, even though violent crime has started to rise

"Fragmentation of police forces, private sector probation contracts and council cuts is making it harder for services to work together to prevent crime.

"Just as in the criminal justice system, across our public services, ministers are driving fragmentation, reorganisation and competition just at a time when local services need to collaborate more to deliver better services and save money too.

"And instead of focusing services around those who use them - victims of crime, patients, children and parents - the Government is putting its focus on commissioners and big, impersonal, private sector contracts.

"Prosecutions for domestic and sexual violence have dropped even though reported crimes are going up. 999 waiting times are getting longer, and far fewer crimes are being solved. Police officers have told me they have no way to cope with growing new crimes - especially things like online child abuse and online fraud."

She will add: " The Tories are ideologically driven by the view that public services are a burden that create dependence and are part of a state that needs to shrink as far as it can.

"We know that quality public services give people confidence, opportunity and independence to get on with their lives and support their families."

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