“THE GOVERNMENT needs to get a grip” – according to the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster.
This came after Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, said he couldn’t promise when backlogs in prosecuting and jailing criminals will be resolved.
Mr Raab said he hoped Crown Court backlogs in England and Wales would fall within 12 months.
But he could not say when they would reach pre-pandemic levels.
Mr Foster said: “There was a serious pre-existing criminal courts backlog before Covid hit and it has been exacerbated as a consequence of the pandemic.
“The criminal courts backlog was as a consequence of the government failing to adequately fund judicial sitting days.
“The police are doing all they can to support the criminal justice system, but ultimately the government needs to put a robust plan in place to clear the court backlog. Cases are being delayed by months, if not years.
“This is a serious failure to put victims at the forefront of our criminal justice system.
“Justice delayed is justice denied, whether that be in relation to victims, witnesses or alleged perpetrators.
“These wholly unacceptable delays place serious pressures on the viability of cases and can even cause cases to collapse with serious criminals going free.
“The government needs to get a grip. I have raised this directly with government and asked them to prioritise this important issue.
“There is a clear issue with public confidence in policing at the moment. Court delays are compounding the lack of trust.”