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Crime Commissioner awarded honorary degree

Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Northumbria University, forty years after graduating from its predecessor with her first law degree.

Vera Baird honorary degree
Vera Baird returned to her alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate in Civil Law Credit: Northumbria University

Vera Baird was Vice-President of the Student Union at Newcastle Polytechnic, before embarking on a career as a barrister.

She went on to become Labour MP for Redcar in 2001 before being elected as Northumbria's first Police Commissioner.

The Deputy PCC for Northumbria retires

The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Mark Dennett has retired from his role. The former Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent, who headed up both South Tyneside and Northumberland Area Commands, played a key role in developing the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

“It’s been great working at the Northumbria Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and I’ve enjoyed the 14 months I have worked there. “While I had intended to retire when I left Northumbria Police this was too good an opportunity not to be involved with and it’s been a privilege to be involved in a new role and chapter in policing. “I was pleased to be able to use my 30 years as a serving Northumbria Police officer to help the Commissioner better understand the Force and the demands made upon it.”

– The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Mark Dennett

The Commissioner appointed Mark Dennett when she took up her post in November 2012.

“I’m very sorry to see Mark go as he has provided me with invaluable advice since I appointed him as my deputy. “He brought with him a wealth of experience which I have put to good use in my first 14 months in the role and he will be a big miss. “I do however wish him the very best of luck and want to take this opportunity to thank him for coming out of ‘retirement’ to take on a key role in my team.”

– Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

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Vera Baird backs a safer internet

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird is backing Safer Internet Day, the worldwide event aimed at promoting a more responsible use of technology. The force has its own youth website which provides information and advice for young people, parents and teachers about staying safe.

"While e-safety is a very important issue for anyone using the web, it is especially important for young people who need to be made aware of the potential dangers of the internet, social networks and mobile communication,” the Commissioner said.

"By educating children and young people at an early age, it can help prevent them from becoming victims of any crimes linked to the internet as well as providing them with information on what to do if someone targets them.”

– Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird

Baird on Mandela: "He led an entire generation"

Vera Baird has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who died yesterday aged 95.

“His compassion and forgiveness were real and unimaginable to most people, after his imprisonment for 29 years.

His palpable example was so important to all the people of South Africa, of every colour and racial origin, to promote the cause of reconciliation amongst them.

“He led an entire generation who championed a world cause against apartheid in South Africa and many people, who were continents away from the struggle, worshipped him.”

– Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

Vera Baird pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird paid tribute to Nelson Mandela who died aged 95. She has described him as the “greatest freedom fighter”, adding South Africa’s first black president had led "an entire generation". Vera Baird met Mr Mandela at a ceremony where she became a QC.

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Vera Baird backs child abuse reporting reforms

Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has backed calls by outgoing Director of Public Prosecution, Keir Starmer, to bring in the mandatory reporting of child abuse suspicions for people working with children.

"Professional people who deal with children from teachers and social workers to healthcare professionals are in a prime position to assess their wellbeing.

"They already have a moral duty reinforced by statutory guidance to report their suspicions of child abuse, but time and time again we find this is not sufficient to compel them to do so.

"Putting victims first is one of my police and crime objectives. Children are among the most vulnerable members of our society and it is important they receive protection from abuse and that their safety is paramount and fully recognised in law."

– Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird

Vera Baird campaigns to close sex offender 'loophole'

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner has pledged to press the Government to close a 'loophole' which allows sex offenders to serve their sentences in the community.

Vera Baird QC has the support of one of the most senior judges in the country, the Rt Hon Lord Justice Gross.

“It’s an extremely unfortunate situation that judges are finding the public will be better-served if they sentence offenders, who should go to prison, to non-custodial sentences because the very sex offence courses that are so rare in prison are more readily available in the community.

“Not only does this mean that sex offenders are receiving over-lenient sentences, it also releases them into the community to start the course so, for a time, the public faces an undesirable and unnecessary risk before the offender completes their programme."

– Vera Baird

Unexpected public support for domestic abuse conference

Organisers of a domestic abuse awareness conference, which is being held today (29th August), has 'doubled in size' because of unexpected public support. What was set to be a small conference has now attracted the interest of 150 delegates.

“I care passionately about tackling domestic abuse and I’m taking an active personal lead in my role as Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria.

“This conference, which brings together partners from agencies across Northumberland, will help us work together to reduce domestic abuse and make people safer.”

– Vera Baird

The “Enough” conference in Ashington, Northumberland, is being backed by Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner. Vera Baird will give a key speech about the issue. She says it is a priority in her future plan.

The event is been organised by The Safer Northumberland Partnership and Northumberland Safeguarding Children’s Board. (NSCB)

Baird backs opportunist crime crackdown

The Police and Crime Commissioner for the Northumbria area is backing a summer crackdown on opportunist crime.Vera Baird has welcomed the results of Operation Soundwave - which saw more than 1,000 people arrested in one month.

“Being a victim of crime can have a massive personal impact on people’s lives and it's vital we continue to seek to reduce crime across our communities.” "Operations like this demonstrate the police are taking a strong stance against criminals who commit this type of crime, while further initiatives are in the pipeline to target other offences. “However I know police can't do this alone and I'm committed to ensuring Community Safety Partnerships work with people in our neighbourhoods to reduce crime and re-offending and cut the number of victims of crime."

– Vera Baird

Soundwave is the Northumbria Police operation aimed at tackling opportunist thieves. It led to 1,218 arrests, 214 warrants and 825 house searches during July.

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