Duncan Lewis

Family Law

know matters can be both

highly sensitive and confusing

Most of the police reports are not always complete before being brought to the courts

Date: (4 June 2013)    |    

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Prosecutors and inspectors of police service have called for decisive action to streamline the criminal justice process and end ‘the spectre of unnecessary bureaucracy’.
The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) identify factors that create unnecessary delay to cases and make seven recommendations for change. But the report has also accepted that significant effort has been made to improve efficiency since a previous report in 2011.
The report is based on work with police force areas and associated CPS areas in South Wales, Avon and Somerset, Merseyside, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Police reports which form the key document for the prosecution were examined after random selection of 40 files which showed that only three out of the lot contained all the information needed to present a case to the court.
The inspectors were concerned that ‘too many’ people were being detained in police custody under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and that children and young people denied bail continued to be held in cells rather than being transferred to local authority accommodation.
The investigation found that a lack of holding cells and custody officers was resulting in excessive waiting times to ‘book in’ prisoners.
Police had to spend most of their time for repeating mandatory drug testing for prolific offenders regularly in police detention and escorting detainees who were taken to hospital.
There is an arrangement for detainees transfer to court by private companies which was not always effective and often resulted in police officers transporting detainees to court themselves.
One of the seven recommendations in the report is for the College of Policing to urgently review and improve the quality of police training in matters including substantive criminal law and procedure.
Among the seven recommendations proposed by the report one is for the College of Policing to ‘urgently’ review and improve the quality of police training in matters including substantive criminal law and procedure.
The report identifies the need for a ‘change in mindset’ to move from compliance with a set of forms to a greater understanding of the importance of good quality information and the fundamental role of the police as ‘gatekeepers to the criminal justice system’.