Tyne & Wear

Dame Vera Baird appointed victims' commissioner

Dame Vera Baird
Image caption Dame Vera Baird said she was "delighted" to be appointed victims' commissioner

Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird is to step down after being appointed as the new victims' commissioner.

She was the UK solicitor general and labour MP for Redcar before becoming Northumbria's first PCC in 2012.

Next month she will take over from the current commissioner Baroness Newlove.

In her three-year post, she will be responsible for promoting the interests of victims and witnesses.

Dame Vera said: "It is an honour to have the chance to work with victims and witnesses to ensure that their voices are heard everywhere it matters."

She said she would be "very sad" to leave her current position, but this new role would help her "build on her experience of victim and witness needs".

The role of the commissioner for victims and witnesses was set up in 2010 and is a statutory role that is independent of government and appointed through an open recruitment exercise.

Justice Minister Edward Argar said: "Throughout Dame Vera's career she has demonstrated a constant commitment to ensuring victims of crime have the best possible experience of the criminal justice system.

"I look forward to working with her to build on the foundations laid by Baroness Newlove's unwavering dedication to improve how we support victims and witnesses."

Baroness Newlove said she was "delighted" by the news because "Vera is a passionate and articulate advocate for victims, particularly the most vulnerable".

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