A CANDIDATE for the new post of Northumbria Police commissioner has come face-to-face with victims of domestic violence.
Vera Baird visited Sunderland charity Wearside Women in Need, to talk to victims of abuse and hear what they want to see from the new commissioner.
“Domestic abuse is still a hidden crime that occurs behind front doors on every street and in every town and city,” she said.
“Though Northumbria Police have worked hard to change this culture and prosecute offenders, we have to redouble our work.”
She added: “It’s inadequate that out of 28,000 incidences reported, just 10 per cent of perpetrators are prosecuted, so that many are able to abuse again.
“As a society we need to understand this issue and use creative means to tackle it.
“It’s important that we listen to the experiences of women, like those I have met today, to ensure we tackle this crime.”
Ms Baird used the visit to set out a five-point plan to tackle the domestic abuse, including specialist training for officers in dealing with domestic and sexual violence, and stalking, working with schools, local authorities and community-based organisations to change attitudes and behaviour; and pilot a preventative policing project involving active monitoring and management of repeat offenders.
Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need said: “We applaud Vera Baird’s five-point plan to tackle violence against women and girls, and hope that all candidates for Police and Crime Commissioner, whatever their political allegiance, back her with similar commitments.”
A former Solicitor General and Labour MP for Redcar, Vera will go up against Conservative candidate Phil Butler, a former Northumbria Police detective inspector, in elections for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner later this year.
The new role will cover more than just policing, with victim support, community safety and crime reduction all be part of the £80,000-a-year post’s responsibility.