The criminal justice system approaching ‘tipping point’

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The criminal justice system approaching ‘tipping point’

Old Bailey: the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales

The criminal justice system was approaching ‘tipping point’ and the backlog in our Crown Courts could reach 195,000 by 2024 without action, according to a report by a crime and justice consultancy. The BBC reports that the authors of a report by Crest Advisory say the prediction is a reasonable worst case scenario but there is a ‘catastrophic risk to public confidence, and effective enforcement of the law’.


The current backlog of cases is about 45,500. Crest looked at how might change over the next four years looking at ‘the long term impact of Covid-19 on unemployment, which could see a rise in some crime; plans to recruit 20,000 additional police officers; a rise in police recorded crime based on historical trends; and the current time frames for cases at court’.

‘The conclusion of our modelling is stark,’ Crest Advisory told the BBC. ‘Covid 19, combined with long-standing legacy issues and the police uplift is leading the criminal justice system to the brink of a tipping point, beyond which it may cease to function in a meaningful sense.’

The Ministry of Justice has said that the study is based on ‘extreme assumptions’.