A VACANCY has been declared for the post of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.

Dame Vera Baird resigned as Northumbria PCC to take up a national role as Victims Commissioner, with the task of promoting the interests of victims and witnesses of crime.

The notice of election will be published this Thursday and if contested, a vote will be held on Thursday, July 18 with polling stations open between 7am and 10pm.

The Northumbria police area covers the local authority areas of Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

This will be the third time that voters in the area have gone to the polls for a commissioner.

The first commissioner election was held in November 2012 and the second in May 2016, when there were more than one million registered electors in the area including 323,155 postal voters.

Dame Vera, a former Labour MP, was the clear winner, with 55 per cent of the vote and a majority of more than 120,000.

Anyone who has not yet registered to vote should do so by Tuesday, July 2.

Patrick Melia, Sunderland City Council chief executive, will be the returning officer and the result will be announced in Sunderland on Friday, July 19.

The next election had been due in May 2020.