Victims' Commissioner Vera Baird quits with letter saying 'criminal justice system is in chaos'

Vera Baird, Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales, said the criminal justice system is "in chaos". Credit: PA Images

The Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales has said she will not renew her term after telling Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis the “criminal justice system is in chaos”.

Dame Vera Baird will leave the post on 30 September at the end of her contract.

In a letter to Mr Lewis, she criticised a lack of action on the backlog of cases in courts.

The former Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Little has been done to effectively tackle the enormous and catastrophic backlog of cases, particularly in the Crown Court where the most serious crimes are tried.

“This has exposed victims of these crimes to intolerable delay, anguish and uncertainty. It is no exaggeration to say that the criminal justice system is in chaos.”

Dame Vera, a former MP for Redcar, added: “This downgrading of victims’ interests in the government’s priorities, along with the side-lining of the Victims’ Commissioner’s office and the curious recruitment process make clear to me that there is nothing to be gained for victims by my staying in post beyond the current extension. As such, my term will end on 30 September.”

The Ministry of Justice has been contacted for comment.

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