|Title:||‘Swift and Sure’: Reforming the Criminal Justice System|
|Date:||Wednesday 17th October 2012|
|Time:||10.00am – 4:30pm|
Register your place
|Graham Higgins, Chairman Elect, Judicial Policy Committee, Magistrates' Association|
|Frances Crook, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform|
|Jonathan Birdwell, Director of Citizens Programme, Demos|
|Simon Evans, Anti Social Behaviour Manager, Swindon Borough Council|
On average five months elapse between offence and sentence in a magistrates’ court. Too often the criminal justice system is viewed as complex and remote, with processes that seem obscure. The system is in need of modernisation. The current cost of the criminal justice system to the taxpayer is over £20bn each year with a large proportion of this money being spent processing offenders, rather than on early, targeted interventions which may help to prevent problems escalating.
Building on some of the lessons learned from the response to last year’s disturbances, Swift and Sure Justice: the Government’s Plans for Reform of the Criminal Justice System (July 2012) sets out a major programme of reforms to the criminal justice system in England and Wales. The White Paper outlines plans to modernise criminal justice services, speed up court cases, improve transparency so that the public can understand how the system works, and engage local communities in dealing with low-level offending.
The Government intends to reform criminal justice by creating a swift and sure system of justice and making it more transparent, accountable and responsive to local needs. Furthermore, the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners following elections in November is another fundamental policy change which will make a contribution to delivering sure justice and bringing greater accountability to the way communities are policed.
As we embark on a crucial period for the policing and justice sector with the PCC elections due in November, this timely symposium offers an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, police and probation services, courts and tribunal services, and other key stakeholders to gain an insight into the proposed changes to the criminal justice system. The symposium will examine the roles and importance of local authorities and communities in ensuring swift and sure justice.
|09:30||Registration and Morning Refreshments|
|10:15||Chair’s Welcome and Introduction|
Panel Session One:
Swift and Sure Justice – Ensuring Transparency and Accountability
|11:15||Morning Coffee Break|
|11:30||Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel One|
Panel Session Two:
Empowering Local Communities and Responding to Local Needs
|14:15||Afternoon Coffee Break|
|14:30||Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel Two|
|15:30||Chair’s Summary and Closing Comments|
We want a more flexible Criminal Justice System, including extending opening hours for courts, maximising the use of technology through virtual courts and prison to court video links and we are looking at radical proposals to speed up cases where offenders plead guilty.
The criminal justice system must be more transparent and accountable to the local communities it services, so we are opening up the justice system and involving communities directly in resolving problem behaviour and low-level crimes, as well as introducing PCCs to make the system democratically answerable to the public. ”
— Justice Minister, July 2012
Recent years have seen significant developments that all serve to make the criminal justice system more efficient without compromising the overriding objective that criminal cases be dealt with justly. The current and ambitious efficiency programme has made very good progress but we recognise there is more to do to embed new processes and continue to pursue greater efficiency especially in a modern digital age. That has to be in the best interest of victims, prosecution and defence witnesses and all parties within the wider criminal justice system.”
— Lead for Criminal Justice, ACPO, July 2012