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The Executive Summary part 1
Our goal is strong, safe communities. That means:
tough action on anti-social behaviour, hard drugs and violent crime;
rebalancing the criminal justice system in favour of the victim; and
giving the police and prosecution the tools to bring more criminals to justice.
The majority of crime is committed by a relatively small number of persistent offenders. Despite all the changes of recent years, the signals sent out are ones of weakness in critical areas: too few criminals brought to justice; too many defendants who offend on bail; too slow to bring them to trial; too many guilty go unconvicted; too many without the sentence they
and society need.
We have done a lot, but there is a lot more to do. We need to send the clearest possible signal that the criminal justice system will be effective in detecting crime, in bringing offenders to court, in convicting those who are guilty and in sentencing them properly.
To ensure better detection, we have embarked on a radical programme of police reform.
To reduce offending on bail we will give the police new powers to impose conditions on bail before charge and extend the prosection’s right to appeal bail decisions.
To get more defendants to court, there will be the closest possible working between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to make sure that cases do not slip between the cracks because of poor case preparation or inadequate charging.
To convict more of the guilty, we will ensure that the case focuses on the relevant issues, and does not have any surprises, because the prosecution and defence will disclose their cases more fully pre-trial.
At the trial we will ensure magistrates, judges and juries are able to hear all the relevant evidence that fairly bears on defendants’ guilt or innocence.
Where a defendant is convicted, we will ensure that if they are a danger to the public or a serious or persistent offender they will be put into custody. For other offenders there will be a range of penalties that are effective in punishing them and in tackling reoffending.
The purpose of this White Paper is to send the clearest possible signal to those committing offences that the criminal justice system is united in ensuring their detection, conviction and punishment.
To detect more crime we will:
increase police numbers to 130,000 by Spring 2003;
increase spending on the police by around £1.5 billion by 2005-06 compared to 2002-03;
encourage more specialist detective skills;
set a clear target for increasing the proportion of police time spent on frontline work; and
better harness science and technology to find the evidence to detect offenders.
To get more defendants to court more quickly we will:
continue to co-locate the police and Crown Prosecution Service in joint Criminal
allow Crown Prosecution Service to take more responsibility for determining charges so that the right cases go to court on the right charges;
invest over £600 million in CJS IT to manage cases more efficiently through the system;
give sentence indication to encourage early guilty pleas; and
give magistrates greater sentencing powers of up to 12 months so that they can hear and sentence more cases appropriate to them.
To prevent offending on bail we will:
give the police power to impose conditions on a suspect’s bail during the period before charge;
weight the court’s discretion against granting bail to a defendant who has been charged with an imprisonable offence committed whilst already on bail for another offence;
extend the prosecution’s right to appeal against bail to cover all imprisonable offences; and
pilot in high crime areas a presumption of remand into custody if a suspect tests positive for Class A drugs at arrest but refuses treatment.
To convict more of the guilty we will:
improve defence and prosecution disclosure by increasing incentives and sanctions to ensure compliance;
allow the use of reported evidence (‘hearsay’) where there is a good reason, such as where a witness cannot appear personally;
allow for trial by judge alone in serious and complex fraud trials, some other complex and lengthy trials or where the jury is at risk of intimidation; and
extend the availability of preparatory hearings to ensure that serious cases such as drug trafficking as well as complex ones can be properly prepared.
At the trial we will:
allow the court to be informed of a defendant’s previous convictions where appropriate;
remove the double jeopardy rule for serious cases if compelling new evidence comes to light;
give witnesses greater access to their original statements at trial; • give the prosecution the right of appeal against rulings which terminate the prosecution case before the jury decides; and
increase the proportion of the population eligible for jury service.
Where a defendant is convicted we will:
focus custody on dangerous, serious and seriously persistent offenders and those who consistently breach community sentences;
ensure that dangerous violent and sexual offenders can be kept in custody for as long as they present a risk to the public;
ensure tough, more intensive community sentences with multiple conditions like tagging, reparation and drug treatment and testing to deny liberty, rehabilitate the offender and protect the public;
ensure more uniformity in sentencing through a new Sentencing Guidelines Council;
enable courts to offer drug treatment as part of a community sentence for juveniles;
introduce a new sentence of Custody Minus – community supervision backed by automatic return to custody if the offender fails to comply with the conditions of their sentence;
introduce a new sentence of Custody Plus to ensure that short sentence prisoners are properly supervised and supported after release; and
introduce intermittent custody to enable use of weekend or night-time custody for low risk offenders.
by poesy on Monday, September 16, 2002