Archive for July 2010
The Coalition Government has published a consultation paper ‘Policing in the 21st Century: Reconnecting Police and the People’ The central features of the proposals are
* the first elections of police and crime commissioners to hold police forces to account and strengthen the bond between the police and the public in May 2012
* creation of a new National Crime Agency to lead the fight against organised crime and strengthen our border security;
* greater collaboration between police forces to increase public protection and drive savings
* phasing out the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA)
* cutting bureaucracy, removing restrictive health and safety procedures and freeing up officers’ time; and
* a clear role for everyone, including members of the public, in cutting crime through beat meetings, neighbourhood watch schemes and voluntary groups.
It is planned that the new Agency will lead the fight against organised crime, protect UK borders and ‘provide services best delivered at national level’. It is envisaged that the Agency will exploit the intelligence, analytical and enforcement capabilities of the existing Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and better connect these capabilities to those within the police service, HM Revenue and Customs, the UK Border Agency and a range of other criminal justice bodies.
Many of these proposals will feature in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, to be published in autumn 2010.
The Coalition Government has developed the concept of the ‘structural reform’ plan as the key tool for making government departments accountable for the implementation of the reforms set out in the Coalition Agreement. They also set the context within which cuts to public expenditure are to be made. In the context of the English Legal System, those most relevant are those published by the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office.
The priorities of the Ministry of Justice are:
1.Reform of sentencing and penalties, ensuring that the justice system protects the public and reduces reoffending by introducing more effective sentencing policies and considering the use of restorative justice for adult and youth crimes
2.Rehabilitation revolution through the development of an offender management system that harnesses the innovation of the private and voluntary sectors, including options for using payment by results, to cut reoffending
3. Courts and legal aid with reform of the legal aid system to make it work more efficiently, whilst protecting the most vulnerable members of society; and developing court reforms to determine how disputes should be resolved, based on principles of transparency, decentralisation and accountability
4. Reform of the prison estate by reviewing the prison estate’s contribution to rehabilitation and reducing reoffending, developing a sustainable and cost-effective prison capacity strategy as part of the Spending Review
5. Civil liberties with a full programme of measures to reverse the erosion of civil liberties and to roll back state intrusion.
The Home Office’s plan also sets out its top five departmental priorities, which are to:
* enable the police and local communities to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour
* increase the accountability of the police to citizens
* secure our borders and control immigration
* protect people’s freedoms and civil liberties
* protect our citizens from terrorism.
Both of these plans were published on 13 July 2010
This is a second podcast with Roger Smith, director of the all-party human rights group, Justice. In this podcast, Roger discusses recent debate about a British Bill of Rights. It was an issue that was discussed a great deal before the 2010 General Election, but seems to be an issue which – now the new Coalition Government has taken office – has lost some momentum. Nonetheless, the discussion is useful, pointing out some of the difficulties with what some may regard as a superficially attractive idea.
Listen to this audio file of Roger Smith:
In this podcast I talk to Roger Smith, director of Justice, the all-party human rights group. In this he talks about what Justice does and in particular how Justice is engaging with students who are studying human rights.
Listen to this audio file of Roger Smith:
In this podcast I talk to the current Chairman of the Law Commission about the challenges of undertaking law reform work and trying to ensure that the Commission’s recommendations are taken up by government. Information about the current work programme of the Commission can be found at http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/
Listen to this audio file of Sir James Munby:
In this podcast I talk to Robert Musgrove. For a number of years Robert has been the Chief Executive of the Civil Justice Council. He has led a number of important initiatives which seek to build on the philosophy of Lord Woolf’s reform of the civil justice system – that while there should be as much access to justice as possible, costs must be kept proportionate, alternative dispute resolution should be used where possible, and that there need to be changes in ‘litigation culture’.
Listen to this audio file of Robert Musgrove:
In this podcast, I talk to Mavis Maclean, a well known empirical legal researcher who has for many years integrated her research work with policy development in Government. As Director of the Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy, she has played a major role in helping to shape ideas about how the family justice system should be developing. (For more information about OXFLAP see http://www.spsw.ox.ac.uk/research/groups/oxflap.html)
In the podcast she talks generally about how family justice has developed, both in England and Wales and elsewhere, and she offers insight into the newly established review of family justice – also mentioned by Ken Clarke in his speech (see related blog).
Listen to this audio file of Mavis Maclean: