PCC John Campion continues to fight for victims as a national report highlights the growing delays in the court system.
The PCC has long been fighting for a justice system that works for victims by calling on the Government for support in a letter to the Home Secretary and Lord Chief Justice in May 2020. Speaking for victims, the PCC highlighted his concern about the current situation and associated backlogs in cases as a result of the Covid pandemic.
He said: “I am committed to the needs of victims and witnesses in West Mercia. Any delay can represent further trauma to victims and witnesses and they are likely to suffer avoidable stress and anxiety.”
In the report, released today by the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection, it highlighted ‘grave concerns’ around the potential long-term impact of Covid related court backlogs on the criminal justice system across England and Wales.
The PCC added: “This report is very welcome as it further highlights the worrying state of the criminal justice system. Any delays in court hearings could be justice denied. The performance prior to the pandemic wasn’t at an acceptable level, and it certainly isn’t now. We need to see the system continue to challenge itself to do better for victims, not just celebrate that ‘it could be worse’.
“We need to start seeing these figures as real people, and as victims and witnesses of horrific crimes who don’t want to have to wait for 13 months to have their case heard. They may even withdraw because they can’t suffer having the process drag out for that long.
“I have pledged to play my part, and I will continue to, for the communities of West Mercia. I recognise the dedication of the staff working within the system to deliver, and I also recognise the situation is worse elsewhere, however I urge the courts to go further and faster for the sake of so many victims and witnesses.”
Read the letter from PCC John Campion to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.
Issued on: Tuesday 19th January 2021