WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 19 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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‘Systemic’ staffing issues within the Criminal Justice System failing victims of crime

‘Systemic’ staffing issues within the Criminal Justice System failing victims of crime

A recent report by the policing watchdog has highlighted pervasive issues in recruiting and retaining skilled personnel within the criminal justice system. The body have raised concerns about worrying levels of inexperience that may fail the victims of crime.

The joint report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said there are ‘systemic’ issues with recruiting new staff and retaining experienced people, and this has ‘seriously hindered’ their ability to deliver for victims.

The head of the CPS, Andrew Kayley KC, said: ‘An effective criminal justice system relies on each agency having a sufficient number of staff, with the requisite experience and skill sets.

‘While we have seen each criminal justice agency respond positively to the pandemic and boost their numbers, they have also lost experienced staff who cannot be easily replaced.

‘Inevitably, this has placed significant burdens on the shoulders of senior staff and ultimately, reduces the quality of service being provided to defendants, witnesses – and to victims of crime.’

The findings underscore the criminal justice system’s struggles to maintain a high-quality service amid a backlog of cases and post-pandemic challenges. The aftermath of the COVID 19-pandemic has deepened recruitment and retention challenges. At the same time the number of outstanding cases in crown courts is at an unprecedented high of 66,547 cases in 2023, contributing to the strain on the criminal justice system.

The report stresses that Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), prisons, and probation service should better understand and address reasons for staff departure, suggesting regular reviews of caseloads, to ensure adequate supervision and support for staff.

Responding to the report, bodies including the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Ministry of Justice have outlined their efforts to address these challenges. In the last three years over 20,000 new members of staff were recruited as response to the issues of officers leaving and retiring.