The region must wait until the New Year for the outcome of an independent inquiry into Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) treatment of women in custody after it was delayed due to the amount of testimony.

Dame Vera Baird KC, a barrister of almost 50 years' experience, started the Baird Inquiry in the summer at the request of Mayor Andy Burnham and Deputy Mayor Kate Green.

Bury Times: Dame Vera Baird KC is leading the Baird Inquiry

The independent inquiry came after a number of complaints about GMP's treatment of women in custody and in particular about the use of strip searches. Sky News reported the stories of three women, one of whom claimed she was assaulted after she was strip searched while in custody at a police station in Pendleton, Salford.

Dame Vera, an ex-MP and ex-Solicitor General, was supposed to come to conclusions and to make recommendations in a report to Mr Burnham and Ms Green this year but this week, during a meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the deputy mayor said the region must wait until the New Year for the outcome.

The delay is due to the amount of testimony with a dozen people coming forward with their own experiences as well as other people coming forward anonymously.

The witnesses are a mixture of men and women and, although all of them are to be taken into account, the work is to maintain its focus on the treatment of women.

Ms Green said: "The inquiry has continued to explore the experiences of people who are arrested and who are taken into police custody with a focus on women in respect of maximising their rights and their safety. This has included examining practices, standards, and the culture of custody in Greater Manchester.

"When we launched the inquiry, the mayor and I said Dame Vera would publish her findings this autumn, but due to the number of people who have come forward and the time needed to thoroughly review their cases, the findings are expected to be published in February 2024."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.