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Vera Baird QC response to Henriques Review

8th November 2016

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, has today expressed disappointment in the part-published findings of the Henriques review into Operation Midland and Operation Vincente and reiterated her clear view that sex abuse complainants should be believed in the same way that other complainants are and that all that complaints of crime should be fully investigated.

Sir Richard Henriques heavily redacted review contains a number of recommendations including that “the instruction to believe a ‘victim’s account’ should cease”.

APCC Chair and PCC for Northumbria Vera Baird QC said:

“I would question whether publishing merely a partial and edited version of this review is in the public interest. Let us be absolutely clear, all complainants of sexual abuse should be believed when a crime is reported in exactly the same way that other complainants are believed and an appropriate inquiry launched. Earlier in the year, I was disappointed that outgoing Metropolitan Police Chief, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe suggested that police should not believe sex abuse complainants.

“This attitude is likely to deny sexual abuse victims justice. It is extremely difficult to complain about this kind of hidden and personal crime and victims need to be reassured that when they do so they will receive all the help and support that they need.

“The overwhelming consensus of professional, dedicated officers is that victims should and will be believed. As with all crimes that is the right stance and must be sustained unless and until an inquiry discloses the need to raise questions. This is the level of service that all complainants are entitled to expect all police forces to deliver. Where that is not happening it is our job to make sure that it starts to happen.”