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Victims of crime in Lichfield and Burntwood need to know how a backlog in the criminal justice system will be cleared, Staffordshire’s Commissioner has said.
Matthew Ellis said he had “real concerns” about the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system.
He is calling for a clear strategy to deal with a backlog of cases caused by the pandemic.
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“I’m very concerned about how the system is going to catch up and get back to some kind of normality.
“Earlier this week temporary ‘Nightingale Courts’ were announced at ten locations across the country to help tackle the huge backlogs, but Staffordshire wasn’t one of them, which is very disappointing.
“I want to be clear on what is being done in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to get back on track as quickly as possible.
“This can’t be done in a vacuum – agencies need to work together to help resolve this situation as soon as possible, before it gets out of control.”Staffordshire Commissioner Matthew Ellis
Latest figures show a 37% increase in outstanding magistrates’ cases across Staffordshire during the lockdown period.
Deputy Commissioner Sue Arnold said the current delays were not fair on those who waiting for justice.
“Victims have already suffered enough. Even in normal circumstances the wait for their cases to be dealt with in the courts can put a huge strain on them and their families.
“There’s a real risk many of these cases might just fall apart if victims can’t face waiting months more for justice to be done.
“I want to ensure everything is being done in Staffordshire to help them through this uncertainty, keep them informed and give them support.
“It’s not acceptable for victims to be forgotten about and left in the dark – there needs to be action and it needs to happen quickly.”Deputy Staffordshire Commissioner Sue Arnold