(This question was forwarded to be asked at Berwick Upon Tweed Town Council meeting tonight which Vera Baird was in attendance. Unfortunately due to the volume of questions submitted, it was not asked, therefore am publishing here – and will also forward to local media outlets)
Are the sexist and discriminatory actions and view points of Ms. Vera Baird bringing Northumbria Police into disrepute?
Undoubtedly Ms. Baird must be credited for spearheading many progressive campaigns in the areas of abuse prevention and awareness.
However, Ms. Baird’s sexist attitudes have been blatant right from the offset of her campaign to become Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria. Ms. Baird made clear throughout her campaign that her intentions were to prioritise tackling violence against women. Since when did crimes against one gender become more important than those committed against another?
Recently Ms. Baird has come under tremendous amount flak from members of the public, (including victims of abuse, both male and female) over a force campaign targeting abuse which has been vocally deemed by many to be sexist.
On the Northumbria Police Crime Commissioner website Ms. Baird said in regard to this abuse campaign, “This strategy sets down in black and white exactly what we will be doing in the north east to ensure we are at the forefront of work to protect women and girls.” ?
Abuse is Universal & does not affect one gender. All of Ms. Baird’s statements published online refer to the victims as females and the offenders as male.
The posters released for this abuse campaign exhibit the same bias. The offenders are portrayed as male, the victims as female. What does this do to help to encourage male victims, whether man or boy, to come forward?
Well one male abuse victim did come forward. He politely questioned Ms. Baird on the bias of the campaign and posters.
Ms. Baird’s response to a valid question was to show zero empathy, compassion or professionalism towards the male abuse victim who questioned her campaign. Indeed, Ms. Baird’s response was an act of passive aggression as she responded by blocking the gentleman from her twitter accounts for daring to question her bias campaign.
Her blocking this abuse victim and the sexism of her campaign has resulted in thousands of online complaints and has drew much media attention. IPCC and Advertising standards have also received numerous complaints.
Ms. Baird denies any knowledge that she “knowingly” blocked a male domestic abuse victim on her Twitter account(s) after he complained about the ‘female bias’ of the police campaign. The gentleman in question provided and published screen shot evidence that Ms. Baird had blocked him from both her official PCC twitter account and her personal twitter account.
It is not possible for one with all faculties in place to ‘unwittingly’ block another user on twitter.
It is not a mistake a person can make on mouse-over for example. To block a user involves making several decisive clicks and then actively selecting to block that individual.
So, unless Ms Baird is implying she has problems with her faculties, Ms. Baird must be fully aware that she blocked this abuse victim intentionally, and on not one, but two of her twitter accounts.
How can the public of Northumberland have trust in Ms. Baird to carry out her role as Police & Crime Commissioner given such bias and her outright refusal to take responsibility for her actions?
It is also noted that Ms. Baird, who blocked this gentleman back in December 2015, took the rather clumsy and belated step of unblocking him from her official IPCC twitter account in January of this year. This rather sad gesture coincides with the dates that ‘spokespersons’ for Northumbria Police attempted to clear up Ms. Baird’s ‘mess’ by releasing statements in response to the complaints. To date, Ms. Baird has made no attempt to apologise to this male abuse victim who has stated he was mortified by Ms. Baird’s actions.
I am aware that many police officers within Northumbria Police are rightly proud of the progress they continue to make in dealing with abuse and honour crimes. Therefore it must be asked, If Ms. Baird is the right person for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner of Northumbria if her personal actions are undermining public confidence in the good work Northumbria Police Officers are carrying out?
Given that our Police and Crime Commissioners are required to pledge an oath to represent ‘all sections of the public without fear or favour’ and to act with impartiality, might Ms. Baird reconsider that she is fit to stand for re election as PCC for Northumberland?