The government’s ‘Police Innovation Fund’ grants Sussex authorities £1.1 million over two years to fully digitise the criminal justice system and improve care for victims of crime through technology.
The coalition of recipients includes the regional police force, Crown Prosecution Service, prison and probation services, local NHS trust and HM Courts & Tribunals Service; the collaborative efforts intend to ensure “swifter, safer justice for victim and witnesses“.
The plans include a widespread introduction of video technology throughout the criminal justice system.
It is expected to allow a re-investment of police time by reducing the time taken to travel to court to deliver evidence as this can be done via video link or format, interviews with those is custody can be conducted through a video link and prisoner hearings can take place remotely, reducing costs and mitigating risks.
Mental health patients who may have to give evidence in court can do so remotely to reduce the stress and unfamiliarity to the patient.
In addition, the scheme is expected to improve court scheduling for the CPS and HMCTS.
Sussex Police says “the new model will provide a blueprint for how similar schemes could be rolled out across the country.”
Detective Superintendent Nick Sloan, explained: “the new model is not about simply overlaying video technology on top of the current criminal justice system – it’s about redesigning the way we work locally and using video technology to improve that process.
“Ultimately it will ensure that vulnerable victims and witnesses will be better cared for.”
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, said: “this is a huge win for Sussex taxpayers who will benefit from an enhanced local policing service as a result of these innovative projects.”