TWO of the region’s elected police chiefs joined forces with people across the globe to say no to violence against women today (Thursday, February 14).

Ron Hogg and Vera Baird, the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) for Durham and Northumbria respectively, spoke at a One Billion Rising (OBR) rally in Durham Market Place.

The OBR campaign saw Valentine’s Day events take place across the country and worldwide to highlight that one in three women globally – one billion in total – are victims of violence at some point in their lifetime.

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Durham’s lunchtime event featured dancing, poetry, speeches and various stalls.

Ms Baird, a former Redcar MP, said: “This is women fighting together against violence.

“There have been huge changes. Power has shifted. Now Ron and I have got the budgets and we’re putting our money where our mouth is.”

Ms Baird said she was working with Mr Hogg and Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger to produce a regionwide strategy aimed at tackling violence against women.

Mr Hogg said: “About a third of violence crime in County Durham and Darlington is domestic abuse.

“In the 21st Century, it beggars belief that we’re still in that situation.”