Scrap crime commissioners and spend the money on more police instead, say Sunderland Liberal Democrats as Dame Vera Baird steps down

Vera Baird
Vera Baird
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The role of crime commissioners should be scrapped and funding diverted to front line policing, Sunderland Lib Dems have said.

Dame Vera Baird announced today she will be stepping down from the role of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird to take up the national role of Victims' Commissioner.

Niall Hodson

Niall Hodson

A by-election must now take place to replace her. But Sunderland’s Liberal Democrats have called for the role to be abolished completely.

Niall Hodson, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Sunderland City Council, said: "Instead of replacing the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner when Vera Baird takes up the new role as national Victims Commissioner in June, the position should be scrapped entirely.

"The money that would be used for a by-election – as well as the ongoing costs of the Commissioner, senior salaries, self-promotion and costly scheduled elections in May 2020 – would be far better invested in front line policing. People want more police - not more politicians."

Coun Hodson said the cost of holding a by-election for the role would not be justified given the low turnouts for previous polls for the commissioner role.

He said Sunderland had seen "the downgrading of our city centre police station to a tiny shop front on Waterloo Place" in recent years, and there were widespread concerns about the levels of police nationwide.