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Witness Care Units

Volume 519: debated on Tuesday 30 November 2010

2. What assessment he has made of the effects of the recent funding settlement for the Crown Prosecution Service on the provision of funding to witness care units. (27077)

None specifically, but I have no doubt that the joint police and Crown Prosecution Service witness care units provide important support to victims and witnesses. In particular, such units have increased the number of effective trials by securing witnesses’ attendance at court and improved the overall satisfaction of victims and witnesses with regard to the criminal justice system.

The CPS contributes £5.5 million per year and the police £6.5 million per year to funding those units, and the CPS provides a witness management system for use by police and CPS staff in WCUs. The CPS is committed to high-quality support for victims and witnesses, recognising its benefits to the criminal justice system.

Northumbria witness care scheme has already streamlined its operations without compromising its service to witnesses and victims, and for that it should be commended. Can the Solicitor-General therefore confirm that that successful and efficient service will not be put in jeopardy as a result of the cuts to CPS funding?