‘Improvements’ do nothing but hamper our justice system

Readers' letters | Published:

So, the court service explains away the present Telford courts debacle (last Monday’s front page) as “wanting to improve waiting times for victims and witnesses”?

A typical example of civil service obfuscation in my view, hiding the way in which local justice is being destroyed by the quite insidious onward creep of civil service “improvements”.

Quite conveniently they choose not to mention that waiting times have lengthened dramatically for many people simply because they, the courts service, have closed so many magistrate’s courts. Further delays (to everyone – solicitors, police, witnesses etc) happen when legal staff type the proceedings themselves as they go along because of the redirection of admin staff to other duties.

Along the way they have lost the good will of magistrates (all volunteers by the way) and local lawyers with similar legal knowledge and expertise to the many court staff who used to be proud of the service and who now are so totally frustrated that they have moved out, been made redundant or who remain trying to create order out of bureaucratic nonsense.

It is simply not good enough that people (innocent until proven guilty, remember) are kept in police cells for 24 hours for the quite ludicrous reason that they have “missed the bus” – the daily police bus to Kidderminster which no doubt passes by Telford court on its way – or that even if found to be innocent find themselves unceremoniously dumped in Kidderminster, about 50 miles from their home area.

Sadly, this is only the beginning of a spiral of so-called “improvements” that are guaranteed to befuddle, disorganise and alienate a service which has at its heart the wish to provide justice for all, as efficiently as possible. This can only be achieved with the legal expertise and partnership to be found at a local level where it is relatively unfettered by political influence. It cannot be done by an unseen bureaucracy at the centre, close to, and so ready to be influenced by the government of the day.

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