Vera Baird

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Dame Vera Baird DBE KC (née Thomas; born 13 February 1950) is a British barrister and politician who has held roles as a government minister, police and crime commissioner, and Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales.[1]

A Labour Party Member of Parliament for Redcar from 2001 to 2010, Baird was a government minister from 2006 to 2010 and the Solicitor General for England and Wales from 2007 to 2010. She served as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Police from November 2012 to June 2019. She was appointed as Victim's Commissioner in June 2019 and resigned in September 2022, accusing government ministers of downgrading victims' interests.[2]

Baird is the author of books on rape, female murderers and women's experiences in court. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to women and equality.[3]

Victims' Commissioner

Baird was appointed as Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales in May 2019, taking up the position in mid-June of that year. The role of the Commissioner is set out in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. Her resignation letter in September 2022 accused the government of downgrading victims' interests and side-lining the role, at the same time as the criminal justice system was "in chaos".[4]

Baird later said that in her opinion Dominic Raab wanted a "puppet on a string" and his proposed bill of rights would undermine the rights of victims. The bill of rights tries to make it clear UK courts are not bound by rulings from the European court of human rights and would, in Baird's opinion destroy "any positive impact from the victims’ bill". Baird said that women and girls, who were victims of violence would be less able to push the police to perform better. Baird maintained the case of Sarah Everard and what happpened since then showed victims rights should not be weakened now.[5]

In 2021 Baird campaigned to prevent British police from accessing complainants phones calling it a digital strip search. Complainants phones often include exculpatory evidence as they did in the case of Liam Allan.[6][7]

See Also

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