Posts Tagged ‘criminal justice system’

The Tories are creating a Mid Staffs of the criminal justice system

01/05/2013, 04:18:10 PM

by Dan McCurry

The government’s reputation for incompetence shows no signs of abating, as they mimic the management ethos of Mid Staffs hospital and apply it to the criminal defence service.

These are government proposals which are to be applied to solicitors’ firms providing advice in police stations and courts. They propose the removal of choice of solicitor from the service user, in order to create a greater economy of scale and drive down costs. But, by doing so they will remove the competition which drives up standards and establish a local monopoly, rarely the most effective model to promote efficiency.

Consider this scenario. Your son has been arrested after his friend got into a fight. Your son was there when the fight happened, but wasn’t a part of it. However, he then prefers to say nothing to the police, because he doesn’t want to get his mates in trouble. The police interview will be much quicker if the lad makes no comment. The solicitor advises him to speak, but he doesn’t push the issue when the lad objects. As a result, your son refuses to answer police questions and this leads to a £10k trial where the young man is acquitted after he gives his account at court.

In the above scenario, the legal adviser gets paid regardless and cannot be criticised, on paper. He or she has also generated a fee from a trial. Your son’s A level results are effected by the several months of stress and distraction. You and your son cannot influence whether this solicitor gets more work or not, since there is no longer any personal recommendation. There is no competition.


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Victims’ rights: better but not good enough

27/09/2011, 03:00:33 PM

by Sally Gimson

Jenny Chapman and Jacqui Smith recognize, in their contribution, Cutting Crime and Building Confidence, in The Purple Book Cutting Crime and Building Confidence that victims need far greater power within the criminal justice system.

Understanding what it was like to be affected by crime helped make criminal justice a Labour issue. It was one of the big achievements of our 13 years in power.

As Chapman and Smith point out, Labour recognised that crime was a social problem which affects the poorest most. “Those,” they argue, “with the least clout and power suffer most from crime and antisocial behaviour”.

And it was these issues that Labour concentrated on, introducing anti-social behaviour orders and putting police officers back on the streets with a remit to report back to local people.

Neighbourhood policing teams were introduced in every area of the country and a policing pledge, now scrapped by the Tory-led government, laid down minimum standards such as targets for responses to 999 calls and monthly “beat meetings”.

Labour home and justice secretaries also boosted victims’ rights,  introducing a victims’ code and creating the post of victims commissioner, held by Louise Casey.

Chapman and Smith outline these achievements and the fall in crime which happened as a result.

But now they say Labour must go further. And that existing Labour councils can lead the way by getting local communities more involved in local policing.


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