Criminal justice think piece


To mark criminal justice week, the Association of PCCs joint leads for this portfolio - Merseyside's Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell and Hertfordshire PCC David Lloyd - explain how PCCs are putting victims at the heart of the CJ system.

We have known for some time that there are deep rooted issues in the criminal justice system and, as a result, victims are having to wait far too long for justice. It simply isn’t good enough and this is our call to action
There is no magic wand, but there are certainly positive signs that things are starting to move in the right direction – and PCCs are at the heart of this.
Over the last ten years, we have established our role as senior leaders in the policing and criminal justice space. We have, however, until now, been limited by the powers at our disposal. So, whilst PCCs have undoubtedly had a positive impact, there is so much more that we will soon be able to do to make the service far more integrated and accountable to those that use it.   
Already plugged in locally, most PCCs now chair their Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs), and there are high expectations placed on us to be responsible for the system and hold other agencies to account. Since we have taken on greater responsibility for commissioning support services, we are putting victims at the heart of the criminal justice system and continuing to drive improvements to local services forward.
The challenges of Covid over the last two years have exacerbated the courts backlog and the system is creaking under the pressure. Whilst we have been challenging government and partners to do better and encourage innovation, the recent review of the role of PCCs paves the way for us to do even more.
With LCJBs placed on a statutory footing, PCCs will be given even more responsibility to hold local partners accountable. These Boards play a critical role, mobilising local partners to work together more effectively. With these stronger powers, PCCs will be driving forward improvements with victims of crime and the public at the heart of decision making.
All criminal justice agencies will be required to share and publish national performance data, which will enable greater transparency in the system, supporting PCCs to understand performance and make decisions to support service delivery. Hugely important.  And it is through co-commissioning guidance, the role of PCCs in offender management will be cemented and the relationship with probation services further strengthened.
Ultimately, we are entirely focused on ensuring that victims, witnesses, and the general public have confidence in the police and criminal justice system. We know that there is work to do but we are confident that PCCs can step up to support victims, cut crime and mobilise partnerships to help keep our communities safe.