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Video evidence in court extension could cost forces up to £720 million


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Police chiefs called for urgent clarity from government.

Video evidence in court extension could cost forces up to £720 million

Plans to ensure all custody suites have video facilities could cost forces up to £720 million to install, according to one analysis.

Policing Minister Nick Hurd told the Police Superintendents’ Association Conference last year that a wider roll-out of video links to courts would save police officer time.

An £11 million pilot was launched in Sussex, with a plan to extend this to London and the south east, followed by the rest of England and Wales from the middle of 2019.

But Police Oracle can reveal that police chiefs subsequently requested an urgent meeting with the Home Office over how much this would cost them.

At least seven forces – Cumbria, Durham, Northumbria, Lincolnshire, Hampshire and South Wales – do not have enough space to house the necessary technology in more than a third of their custody facilities.

And it is feared that the total could be as many as 21.

An analysis presented to chief constables in October estimates that building extra room to install video suites would cost between £211 million and £720 million.

NPCC digital policing lead Chief Constable Giles York told colleagues at a meeting this would be “completely unrealistic”.

Upgrading custody suites with available space to meet video court requirements would only cost between £1 million to £9 million, but would result in “a potential postcode lottery of service provision”.

What the other forces would do instead is unclear.

He told colleagues there was a pressing and urgent need to begin discussions with the Home Office and Ministry of Justice about how the scheme would be paid for.

The NPCC had been raising the issue of funding the scheme for months, with Assistant Chief Constable Tony Blaker declaring last year that the £300,000 annual costs of a pilot in the county were not viable for Kent Police to bear.

He called for the development of a national funding strategy.

In a statement yesterday CC York said: “Concerns about the potential impact on police finances have been communicated to the Home Office, who will represent policing in any future negotiations.

“We remain committed to finding a workable solution with HMCTS colleagues, as video-enabled justice offers significant benefits to the public and efficiency gains for the criminal justice system.”

The Home Office had not responded to Police Oracle’s request for comment before this article went live.

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Video link can save a bit of time, sometimes. Unless there is video to watch, or exhibits, or the courts lack the facility, or its broken. 

What would save money is not pointlessly calling officers, not continually bumping cases down the line etc.. 

But fixing that probably costs more 

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It's about having video link from custody suites so prisoners don't need to be taken to court if remanded. They can then go straight to prison (if agreed ). It saves a trip to court for a 5 mins chat with mags. In rural forces courts can be a long way from custody. In the long term it will  save money.

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Whether it saves a great amount of time or not is yet to be seen.

We have video link where I am for mags. 

On a court day you have to parade on in court uniform and email the CPS with your location and having setup the livelink in custody.

You are then tied down to sitting in the office. Which is fine if you have desk based enquiries to do however it's still a waste of time...and as mentioned on several occasions I've been asked to urgently locate footage or an exhibit and attend the court.

Now the court itself is only a short drive from me so I don't see a huge benefit from live link but I'm sure my colleagues in the neighbouring division  might see a better benefit.

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