The Merseyside Criminal Justice Board brings criminal justice agencies together to join up processes to reduce crime and re-offending and focus on the needs of victims and witnesses.
Take a look at some of the key achievements of the Board in 2016/17
Criminal Justice Efficiency and Effectiveness
- The Board has actively been involved in developing the Liverpool City region Strategic Safeguarding Forum and has migrated its domestic violence and hate crime groups into this new framework with the exception of pure criminal justice matters which it will retain
- Successfully embedded the Criminal Justice Efficiency program. This means all courts have In-Court Presentation IT which enables all parties to present evidence electronically to the court and each other in real time. All Courts also now have WiFi allowing all business users to access their home systems and negate the needs for paper. This has increased speed and efficiency. This program has also included the introduction of the Magistrates Court in Bench Solution to allow Magistrates to views files and evidence via tablets which they can take to the deliberations rooms with them. It has also seen the introduction of Livelinks to allow witnesses to give evidence from remote locations. The Board is now seeking to implement dedicated vide links with its major forensic suppliers.
- Implemented the Digital Case Store for all Crown Court files
- Supported the successful implementation of the Better Case Management Initiative which is the introduction of end to end efficiency actions within the Crown Court resulting in significant improvements in performance (data).
- Implementation of the Transforming Summary Justice initiative which is the introduction of end to end efficiency on Magistrate court Case resulting in improvements in performance. It is second out of its seven most similar areas
- Implementing and embedding the Section 28 initiative which allows young and vulnerable witness to pre-record their evidence out of the court setting thereby enabling them to provide best evidence. The area is also involved in extending this pilot to other vulnerable victims and witnesses
Merseyside has also been chosen as one of the pilot forces for the Common Platform Programme, a system to all allow all agencies and the defence to access files subject to access control and transfer these from police to CPS to the court, from one court to another plus the defence and probation and YOT services.
- The area has also been selected to and is implementing the Digital Mark Up process whereby court records a resulted in real time after a hearing has concluded
- Embedded the single justice procedure whereby a Single Magistrate and Legal Advisor can deal with low-level cases electronically.
- The MCJB has embedded the Plea on Line System whereby defendants can make a plea on line for low level motoring cases without the need to attend court
- Working to develop a digital storage system for all police information
- Took the national lead in implementing the new bail provisions as of April 2017
- Commenced the implementation of the new national out of court disposal process
- Reduced the unnecessary attendance of police officers attending court and not giving evidence from 40 to less than five per 100 trials
Victim and Witness Issues
- Continued to develop and monitor the Post Sentence Restorative Justice Conferencing with a new provider “Victim Support”
- This year, the Board has seen the number of first-time entrants into the Criminal Justice System down by a further 50%. but is acknowledged that this is now reaching a natural low level.
- Helped to reduce the detention of youths in police premises. The number of young people refused bail is down to less than five per month and there are less than one person per day kept overnight.
- Developed an Unnecessary Criminalisation of Young Children protocol with w view to reducing the unnecessary criminalisation of young children, particularly those in care
- Developed a local response to the recommendations contained within the Lamming report in respect of young children in the CJS.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Offence Issues
- Successfully implemented the Merseyside Special Domestic Violence Court in the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts. This court now deals with all first appearance of domestic violence cases with specialist staff dedicated from all the Criminal Justice Agencies. This has led to successful outcomes at court in excess of 85% of cases. Its conviction rates are within the top 10 in the country.
- Rape conviction rates are now in excess of 60%.
Hate Crime issues
- Hate Crime conviction rates are now in excess of 88% for all hate crime. Following joint agency training disability, the disability hate crime conviction rate stand at 94%.