Agreement reached for remand hearings to remain in Shropshire

An agreement has been reached to stop remand court hearings being moved back out of Shropshire.

Telford Magistrates Court
Telford Magistrates Court

Remand hearings in Shropshire have taken place by video link from county custody suites to Kidderminster Magistrates Court throughout the Covid crisis.

The system was put in place earlier this year, and also came after criticism from Shropshire solicitors over prisoners having to be transported to Kidderminster for the hearings.

However, a decision from the National Police Chiefs Council to withdraw support for the measure meant there were concerns the court service would have to revert to the previous system.

West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, said a solution had been found, with an agreement reached to host the hearings at Telford Magistrates Court, with court service security staff taking on the role of looking after prisoners for the hearings.

He said it would free officers up to do more police work.

Mr Campion said: “I will always stand firm and refuse to accept anything but the best outcome for the communities of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. I was pleased to be informed that, from the end of November, the courts will be utilising space within Telford Magistrates’ Court to conduct video remand hearings rather than prisoners from Shrewsbury and Telford having to be transported to Kidderminster.

Focus

“I understand that the HMCTS escort provider has also agreed to pick up detainees and transport them to hearings. This will therefore reduce police officers involvement and allow them to focus on tackling crime in our communities as opposed to escorting prisoners.

“Whilst this interim solution is progress, and I welcome the courts service stepping up, it is not the ultimate solution and there is still the need to agree long term fixes. Communities should be in no doubt that I will continue to fight unapologetically for victims and the wider communities to see the effective and efficient justice delivered.”

Head of Local Policing, Chief Superintendent Paul Moxley, said: “As did many other forces across the country during Covid-19 we took on extra responsibilities to support the wider criminal justice system and as an emergency provision supported Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service with video remand hearings from custody suites.

"The decision to stop the use of Video Remand Hearings is a national decision that has been made by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. We will continue to work closely with HMCTS to manage this transition and will continue to do all we can to support the wider criminal justice system.”

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