Northumbria police boss defends charity cash decision

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.

There will be no investigation into the latest controversy surrounding Northumbria Police which saw the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) give taxpayers’ cash to her own charity.

Vera Baird awarded the recently-launched Victims First Northumbria, of which she is a director, a Government grant of more than £500,000. The former Labour MP and solicitor general was able to do so after the Government changed the rules to allow PCCs to commission services for victims of crime.

A statement from the PCC yesterday said that the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that there will be no investigation into the setting-up of Victims First Northumbria or the decisions of the PCC after she was told ‘there is no intention to investigate. An investigation is not planned’.

Ms Baird said: “My decision to establish a charity in order to deliver the highest quality of victims’ services to the public of Northumbria is the right model for our region. Victims First Northumbria is unique in that it will give victims one point of contact for all their needs and support. All Ministry of Justice procedures and protocols have been adhered to throughout.

“Victims First Northumbria has got off to a great start helping more than 550 people in just over two weeks. I am confident that our excellent team of Victim Care coordinators will go from strength to strength with my strong support.”

Last week, Northumbria’s Chief Constable Sue Sim announced her retirement after three decades of service. It followed the news that Mrs Sim was being investigated over misconduct claims, but would not be suspended during the course of the investigation.