Tackling Knife Crime (Northumberland Gazette article)

Knife crime can have a harsh effect on communities. Across Northumbria, we have seen the devastating effect that knives have caused to families.

I am a firm believer that there should be tougher sentences for those who carry knives and I am pleased that the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has given her backing to tougher sentences for knife crime.

An amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill has been put forward which proposes a six-month jail term for anyone convicted of carrying a knife for the second time.

This amendment makes sound sense.

Tougher sentences would send a

continue reading Tackling Knife Crime (Northumberland Gazette article)

Huffington Post Article (9th June). Responding to the Director of Public Prosecutions Rape Action Plan.

Today’s Rape Action Plan from Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, is yet another valiant attempt to improve the conviction rate for sexual offences which is, in reality, still held back by out of date rape myths which prevail at court and which remain influential in the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

There was an upward trend in the rate of conviction for cases that got to court for about seven years as police and CPS made progress in training their staff and improving witness care. However, the increase was never huge and it fell sharply from 63%-60%

continue reading Huffington Post Article (9th June). Responding to the Director of Public Prosecutions Rape Action Plan.


Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner has written to the Home Secretary expressing her alarm at plans to destroy thousands of DNA samples from a national database. Vera Baird QC believes it will be victims of rape and sexual violence who will ultimately suffer as a result of samples held on the national DNA database being destroyed as part of the Protection of Freedoms Act. From October police forces won’t be able to hold indefinitely the DNA of people arrested on suspicion of sexual and violent crimes if they are released without charge. Forces can apply to the biometrics

continue reading DELETION OF DNA RECORDS

Noisy neighbours sorted.

Police are reminding residents not to leave calling officers as a ‘last resort’ when anti-social behaviour (ASB) problems happen.

This follows an issue of noisy neighbours in Jesmond when a resident suffered for over two months before contacting police for help. When the caller did decide to ring the police she was very pleased with the swift and effective response she received.

The regular night-time disturbances started in April and were affecting the caller and her family. She said she felt she just had to put up with them even though she was suffering sleepless nights and was worried

continue reading Noisy neighbours sorted.

The Reality of Rape Law

Read Vera’s piece in the Huffington Post here.

Cameron needs to distance himself – and politics – from the money of a convicted thief

Read Vera’s article for LabourList.org here

Vera visits Newcastle's Angelou Centre

Everyone I have spoken to, locally, about violence against women admires the Angelou Centre, which is just moving to bigger premises in Newcastle’s West End.

continue reading Vera visits Newcastle's Angelou Centre

Police candidate hails S. Tyne approach on anti-social behaviour

Read the Shields Gazette report of Vera’s visit to South Tyneside to learn at first hand how the council is working with its partners to tackle crime.

Police commissioner candidate promises Sunderland women she will tackle domestic violence

Read the Sunderland Echo report of Vera’s visit to Sunderland charity Wearside Women in Need.

Vera pledges to put victims of crime first

Vera Baird QC, Labour’s candidate for Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner has signed up to support Victim Support’s five basic rights for victims of crime and pledged to secure improvements in the way victims are treated by the local criminal justice system if elected in November’s elections.

Read the full press release here