Northants PCC welcomes calls for criminal justice reform

Police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold has welcomed calls for PCCs and mayors to take more control over the criminal justice system.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:10 pm
Northants Police and Crime Commissioner PCC elections, May 6, 2016. Kettering Conference Centre. Winner Stephen Mold, Conservatives. Runner-up Kevin McKeever, Labour NNL-160605-162226001

A report by researchers GovernUp says the system is failing and directly-elected representatives should be given new powers over courts, prosecutions and youth justice.

There is currently a record backlog in courts in the UK, with Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court among those taking the longest to process cases.

Mr Mold says he would like more powers to reduce those court times.

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He said: “To get to court in Northamptonshire it takes about six months.

“In Leicestershire it’s six weeks.

“That’s an awfully long time.

“If we join the system up, we can make a real difference and provide better outcomes for victims.”

The backlog means victims are forced to wait longer to get justice, and Mr Mold says this is creating potentially serious situations.

He added: “Crime has changed significantly and the man hours that you have to have to prosecute is phenomenal.

“We could better connect the system and we can actually deliver better justice.

“Because there are so many cracked cases the courts overlist so you end up with a potentially serious situation, such as a domestic violence case where someone has to go and sit in court and then they ask you to come back tomorrow.

“You can imagine the courage that some of these people are displaying to actually go there in the first place.”

MP Nick Herbert​, former minister for policing and criminal and co-chairman of GovernUp, said: “Our justice system is under real strain and the old top-down approaches have failed.

“We need radical reform to keep pace with rising demand and make the justice system much more accountable to local people who pay for it.

“Now that they are well established, mayors and PCCs are the obvious figures to take on these new powers, and it is right that agencies like the CPS should respond to the priorities set by local communities.”