Commissioner aims to tackle home violence

VERA BAIRD ... has devised a new national strategy on how to curb violence against women
VERA BAIRD ... has devised a new national strategy on how to curb violence against women

POLICE will be given greater expertise to deal with stalkers and domestic violence offenders in a new plan unveiled by Northumbria’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.

Vera Baird has announced that the region will take the lead in a new national strategy she has written on how to curb violence against women.

The new approach will see a specialist appointed to deliver a reformed domestic violence strategy, extra training for neighbourhood police officers and specialist protection units on sexual and stalking crimes. The plan could, eventually, be adopted by all Labour commissioners across the country – including County Durham and Cleveland.

The former MP for Redcar said: “There is a five-pledge plan, which I drafted for all the police and crime candidates in the country, and taken on by all the Labour crime commissioning candidates.”

The plan includes ensuring specialist domestic violence and public protection units in the police service are supported while maintaining an existing network of independent advisers and advocates to victims of violence.

She also wants commissioners to support early intervention strategies to tackle violence against women and girls by working with schools, local authorities and community-based organisations to change attitudes and behaviour.

A final pledge is a preventative policing project to promote the active monitoring and management of serial perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence, and stalking.

Ms Baird said: “Two women a week still die from violence inflicted on them in the home, despite all that we’ve done to try and curb that.

“When I was in Government, we had a large number of women MPs who focused for the first time very strongly on domestic and sexual violence. That focus has helped cut crime.

“There is much more to do.”

Between 2010 and 2011, more than 28,000 incidences of domestic abuse were reported to police in the Northumbria Force area.

In the same year, only 3,000 people were prosecuted, leading to 2,264 convictions.

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