This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Justice delayed is justice denied,

The Government's new white paper (copy here) begins with Nick Herbert quoting Gladstone "Justice delayed is justice denied". This is a somewhat ironic as I know how long this document has been in the melting pot! But that aside, this is white paper worth reading. It heralds the next stages in the Coalition's plans for 'reforming' the criminal justice system.

I have not read its 64 pages / 22500 words just yet - but I have browsed it. First some word frequencies

Reform - 171 times
Sure - 146 times
Swift - 107 times
Victim - 87 times
Magistrate - 77 times
Crown Court - 46 times
People - 15 times
Fair - 12 times
Harm - 9 times
Equality - 4 times
Outsource - 0 times


Police and Crime Commissioners - 37 times

Naturally, I am very interested in what the white paper has to say about PCCs. Here are some quotes (with my added emphasis):
Although they are not yet in place, we are starting to consider how Police and Crime Commissioners might play a wider role in criminal justice reform. We have already announced that they will take on responsibility for commissioning services for victims of crime and we are considering whether over time they should also be involved in commissioning services for the management of offenders.
The Home Secretary announced on 4 July 2011 that she would support the police in setting up a new Police Information Communications Technology (ICT) company to help exploit the full potential of technology. It will be staffed by IT experts, owned by Police and Crime Commissioners and led by its customers.
Each criminal justice agency will remain responsible for setting its own priorities and the operational independence and impartiality of the judiciary and prosecutors will be preserved. Charging decisions will remain a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service or the police, respectively, depending on the seriousness of the offence (in accordance with The Director’s Guidance on Charging 2011), and decisions on the management of individual cases, and sentencing decisions, will remain entirely a matter for the judiciary. However, the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 contains within it a reciprocal duty to co-operate between Police and Crime Commissioners and the criminal justice organisations in a police force area, requiring them to make arrangements for the provision of an efficient and effective criminal justice system.
That is why we are already considering ways in which the Police and Crime Commissioners’ role could potentially be further developed within the criminal justice system over time. This might include, for example, commissioning Probation and Youth Offending services, as well as clear leadership on improving the local administration of justice.

I think you should watch this space!

And perhaps the country will begin to wake up to the changes that the Government are planning and just how important the elections in November are going to be... 

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