The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 states that the PCC and criminal justice bodies:
“must make arrangements (so far as it is appropriate to do so) for the exercise of their functions so as to provide an efficient and effective criminal justice system for the police force area.”
The criminal justice bodies included in this duty are those which currently comprise the LCJB.
It is for local areas to establish working arrangements that will deliver an efficient and effective criminal justice system in that specific area.
In August 2010, the Ministry of Justice confirmed that from April 2011 LCJBs would become self-financing. Since this time, support for the LCJB in Cleveland has been provided by a Project Manager role funded from LCJB reserves.
In 2012, there was agreement to merge the Cleveland and Durham LCJBs and to further expand the remit of the Project Manager to support the work of the combined Board.
This role has continued to be funded from the remaining reserves held by both the Cleveland and Durham Boards.
The Project Manager has been able to devote a full-time role to the work of the Cleveland and Durham Criminal Justice Board (C&DCJB) and remains the only dedicated support resource.
The reserves of the LCJB’s only have sufficient money to continue to pay for this role until the end of June 2014.
The Cleveland and Durham Criminal Justice Board mission is to maintain a powerful coalition of criminal justice and partner agencies. Members will identify opportunities to overcome crime and justice challenges through the effective combination of agency strengths and the efficient use of resources.
They will support victims of crime and reduce re-offending, while recognising the rights of defendants; all of which is delivered on behalf of and with the support of the communities they serve.
With this in mind, PCCs for Cleveland and Durham have accepted the offer to become Executive Members of the Cleveland and Durham Criminal Justice Board.
The Cleveland and Durham Criminal Justice Board will focus on the following areas:
- Specialist Domestic Violence Courts (SDVC). The objective of this sub-group is to bring together the Criminal Justice System (CJS), Community Safety Partnerships (CSP) and the voluntary sector to coordinate, improve, oversee and review the multi-agency SDVC process. This is in accordance with the overarching protocol and component parts.
- Victims and Witnesses. The objective of this sub-group is to deliver the best service possible to victims and witnesses of crime. It also aims to make the best use of resources, from first contact with the Criminal Justice System through the criminal justice journey and beyond. This is in accordance with the overarching protocols.
- CJS Efficiency. The overall objective of the CJS Efficiency sub-group is to make changes to the way the criminal justice system operates in Cleveland and Durham. That’s so the system works as efficiently as possible. This specifically includes reducing the level of attrition, particularly in Cleveland and the Streamlined Digital Programme to digitise the Criminal Justice System.
To aid delivery, the Cleveland and Durham Criminal Justice Board will need to provide staffing support.
Staff will lead the implementation and development of LCJB priority work and associated projects through a multi-agency approach across Cleveland and Durham.
The Cleveland and Durham Criminal Justice Board has requested a contribution from Cleveland and Durham PCCs to enable work to continue through 2014-15.