Labour's Kim McGuinness becomes new Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

Kim McGuinness will succeed Dame Vera Baird QC as Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Labour's Kim McGuinness has been appointed Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, after beating independent candidate Georgina Hill in a tight second-round run-off.

A Newcastle city councillor, McGuinness, has promised to be the “people’s commissioner.”

At 34, she will be the youngest Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in the country.

No candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the first round, forcing a count of second preference votes.

The final result was 67,332 to 61,633, with a turnout of 15%.

There was only a 15% turnout for the vote Credit: PA

McGuinness has said her lack of experience in criminal justice policy or policing will not affect her ability to do the job.

As commissioner McGuinness will oversee policing in six local authorities, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Born in Newcastle, McGuinness has represented the city’s Lemington ward since 2015. She became the council’s member for culture, sport and public health a year later.

In her victory speech, McGuinness railed against the impact of austerity on policing and public safety.

She said: “This is a safe region… But we know after nine years of austerity, crime is on the rise.”

Northumbria Police have lost 1,000 officers since 2010, having sustained the biggest funding cuts of any force in the country.

McGuinness will replace Dame Vera Baird QC, who has held the post since its creation in 2012. She was re-elected in May 2016, receiving more than 50% of the first preference votes in both elections. Dame Vera is stepping down after being appointed victim’s commissioner.

She was “very sad” to step down from the role, but her new role would help her “build on her experience of victim and witness needs.”

“It is an honour to have the chance to work with victims to ensure that their voices are heard everywhere it matter”, she said.

PCCs were introduced in 2012, replacing local police authorities. The idea was that a directly elected figure would be more accountable to the public.

Voter turnout has been historically low. Research conducted around the 2016 round of PCC elections found that less than one in ten people knew who their local commissioner was.

Last year a report commissioned by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) raised concerns about the relationship between PCCs and chief constables.