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Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice System (CJS) in England and Wales is a complex and comprehensive framework designed to maintain law and order, protect the rights of individuals, and administer justice.

The Police and Crime Commissioner plays a crucial role in shaping and overseeing the CJS in Warwickshire to ensure it serves the best interests of local communities. This role plays a crucial part in advocating for community priorities, allocating resources effectively, and holding policing to account, all with the aim of promoting public safety and enhancing the overall quality of the CJS.

The CJS in Warwickshire consists of various agencies, institutions, and processes that work together to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate criminal cases, including the following:

  • Warwickshire Police – the police are the primary agency responsible for investigating alleged crimes. They gather evidence, interview witnesses, and, if they believe there is enough evidence, make an arrest.
  • Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – the CPS are the principal public prosecuting agency in England and Wales. Their role includes deciding whether to prosecute individual/s for criminal offences, presenting cases in court, and providing legal advice to the police and other investigative agencies. The CPS ensure that cases are prosecuted fairly and effectively. Its decision to prosecute is based on a careful assessment of evidence and a consideration of the public interest, aiming to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of all parties involved in criminal cases.
  • His Majesty’s Court & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) – HMCTS is responsible for the administration of criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales. They work with an independent judiciary to provide a fair, efficient and effective justice system.
  • Magistrate’s Courts handle less serious offences, with the overall goal of providing efficient and accessible justice to the public, while maintaining the principles of fairness and due process. Here there are no judges. Magistrates (or justices of the peace) are unpaid, part-time volunteers from the local community. The Magistrate’s Courts also handles certain family and civil matters.
  • Crown Courts deal with more serious crimes. They play a crucial role in upholding the principles of justice, ensuring that individuals accused of serious crimes receive a fair and impartial trial. It is a more formal and structured environment, along with the involvement of a professional judge and jury.
  • His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) – HMPPS carry out sentences given by the courts, both in custody and the community. They reduce reoffending by rehabilitating the people in their care through education and employment. The agency is made up of HM Prison Service, Probation Service, Youth Custody Service and a headquarters focussed on creating tools and learning.
  • Youth Justice Service (YJS) – The YJS in Warwickshire is hosted by Warwickshire County Council. Young offenders between 10 and 17 years of age who encounter the CJS are dealt with via a specially designed youth justice system and related services. The YJS should address the unique needs and circumstances of young people, focusing on rehabilitation, diversion from criminal behaviour, and the prevention of reoffending.

Local Criminal Justice Board (LCJB) in Warwickshire

Warwickshire Criminal Justice Board logoThe LCJB in Warwickshire is a multiagency, strategic-level partnership that co-ordinates and ensures effective and efficient delivery of justice services in Warwickshire, with the overarching aim to improving the experience of victims and witnesses. It is chaired by the Police and Crime Commissioner and brings together representatives from each of the aforementioned criminal justice services, as well as from the Judiciary and Magistracy (who exercise judicial independence) and the Commissioner’s Office, to collaborate on addressing issues related to crime and justice in Warwickshire.

LCJB’s are an essential component of the England and Wales CJS, ensuring that local communities have a voice in the process and that local needs are addressed effectively. By fostering collaboration and coordination among criminal justice agencies, they play a vital role in enhancing the overall performance and outcomes of the system.

LCJBs focus on various priorities, depending on the needs of their local communities. The 2024-2028 priorities for Warwickshire’s LCJB are:

  • Understanding and Monitoring Local Criminal Justice Performance
  • Putting Victims, Survivors, and Witnesses First
  • Reducing Reoffending
  • Renewing Confidence in the CJS

For the Board to be effective, the LCJB has long-standing subgroups and short-term task and finish groups to develop specific areas of work in more detail, engaging with a wider range of agencies and specialist teams. A principle one of these is the Victim and Witness Forum (VWF), chaired by a representative from the Commissioner’s Office, where key criminal justice stakeholders come together to discuss national and local victim-related subject matters, as well as identify emerging issues/barriers and good practice for the LCJB to be aware of. The primary purpose of the VWF is to provide a structured, high-level strategic approach to ensuring that victims and witnesses of crime receive the right support, services, and justice they deserve within Warwickshire.