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'Death warrant signed' for Gloucestershire justice as CPS office to close

By EchoLauraC  |  Posted: December 19, 2013


The Crown Prosecution Service office in Gloucester

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The closure of the county’s Crown Prosecution Service has been hailed as “another nail in the coffin of criminal justice system”.

The CPS announced it would be closing its Gloucester office, which serves the county’s courts, and moving to Bristol.

Despite a consultation in October, many involved in the process of justice believed it a foregone conclusion.

Gloucestershire solicitor Tim Burrows described it as the “death warrant being signed.”

He said: “We have lost the prison, now we are losing the Crown Prosecution Service - it will be pretty awful to not have a criminal justice system in the county.

“It is another nail in the coffin of local justice. I fear Gloucestershire will be treated as the poor relation of Bristol.

“We currently have good working relationships with staff of the CPS and that helps to get things done. There is the personal touch and a trust there and it will take a while to build that up.”

The CPS said budget cuts meant a choice between reducing staff or building costs. Shutting the Kimbrose Way building will mean no compulsory redundancies and the closure comes as it is moving to digital working.

But Mr Burrows said the argument was farcical as the CPS’s technology was not working in the court rooms.

He said the tablets staff were given are unable to play DVDs of CCTV and unsuitable for secure e-mails. Many of the county’s court still have no Wifi connection and the prosecution are still required to provide papers to the court and defendant.

He said he had a trial adjourned for the third time this week - and relisted for June - because the CCTV could not be played.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, raised concerns about the office closing during its consultation.

He said: “We’ve known for a while this was coming. The improvement in technology means that long distance working is pretty much taken for granted these days.

“Although where the CPS is based is not especially important in itself, I hope it doesn’t lead to any deterioration in working relationships and the service given to the public.”

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  • RoadWombat  |  December 21 2013, 2:31PM

    The CPS are on the verge of being declared 'not fit for purpose' anyway. It's just the first stage in setting up a totally new system.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  December 19 2013, 4:12PM

    Don't tell me they decided to supply iPads when it's known that most professional CCTV systems don't supply client software for the apple platform just windows............

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