12:00PM, Friday 04 August 2017
The state of criminal justice in the Thames Valley has been blasted by inspectors.
The Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (TCCPS), which covers the Royal Borough and Slough, was slated for a range of failings and inefficiencies, including its communication with witnesses and victims and general working practices.
The report by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, also criticised police for failing to produce files of a high enough standard and failing to comply with disclosure duties.
The watchdog also said TCCPS should do more to challenge the quality of police submissions to raise standards.
The service works with Thames Valley Police, Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Dealings with witnesses and victims of crime were highlighted as ‘particularly poor’.
Inspectors say letters are regularly sent late and more than a quarter of case files do not contain a required Victim Personal Statement.
In a statement, Adrian Foster, chief crown prosecutor for TCCPS, said some of the issues were already being addressed, adding: “We recognise the importance of improving our communications with vulnerable and intimidated victims and our engagement with groups who are at greatest risk of exclusion and discrimination.
“We are determined to bring about positive change and are confident we will be able to deliver improvements.”
The report also criticised a failure to adopt digital working practices and the ‘unacceptably poor performance’ of prosecutors in magistrates’ courts. Neither point was addressed by Mr Foster.
Thames Valley Police has been contacted for comment.
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