POLICE and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidates are throwing their weight behind a victim support charity.
Northumbria candidates Vera Baird and Phil Butler have signed up to back Victim Support’s latest campaign, which urges the new PCC to be more considerate towards victims of crime.
The charity also wants to see police being more responsive to victims’ needs, ensuring they get the help they need and give them a louder voice in the criminal justice system.
Labour candidate Vera Baird QC has pledged that victims should get a police response to antisocial behaviour complaints within 24 hours and get support to help them cope with its effects.
She said: “I have visited our excellent Northumbria Victim Support office three times and was lucky enough to be invited by its director Liz Jarvis, to sit in on a training course by which former victims of antisocial behaviour learn to use their experience in support of current victims.
“That was a unique opportunity and I listened keenly to what these former victims described.
“It great that local people now freed of antisocial behaviour are keen to help others.
“Nuisance and harassment, usually targeted at the victim in their own home, is very undermining and is still a big issue across Northumbria, despite police efforts.”
Conservative candidate Phil Butler is a former police officer with 30 years of experience behind him.
He said: “I have two main points with Victim Support. They do not have a voice in the criminal justice system.
“As a former police officer, I thought it was perverse that Victim Support and other victim charities did not have a seat on the Criminal Justice Board, unlike the Probation Service which represents offenders.
“My plan is to put them on the Criminal Justice Board, give them a seat and give them a direct link to me as the PCC.
“I also believe that offenders who target women, children and the vulnerable for a second time should have a two strikes and you’re out rule where they get life imprisonment.
“Victims and the families seem to get a 30-second soundbite after their day in court on the court steps and then they are forgotten.
“I think put victims first and offenders second.”