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Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has reacted to a National Audit Office report, published today, which shows the Crown Court backlog is now the highest on record.

He said: “For anyone who cares about access to justice and the administration of our country’s justice system, the National Audit Office (‘NAO’) Report, published on 24 May 2024, makes deeply concerning reading.

“The Report concludes that the Crown Court backlog is now the highest on record, but the Ministry of Justice’s aim to reduce the backlog of 67,573 cases to 53,000 by March 2025 is no longer achievable.

“The delays in waiting for cases to conclude, are exacerbating the adverse impact on victims, witnesses and defendants, as well as increasing the risk of cases collapsing.

“Longer delays mean victims and witnesses might withdraw from proceedings; their recollection of evidence declines over time; it can negatively impact victims’ mental wellbeing and that of defendants awaiting trial; and it can also add to the cost of administering justice.

“The backlog is yet a further illustration, of the chronic and negative impact of years of government mismanagement, neglect and underinvestment in our criminal justice system, that all too often, is defective and dysfunctional.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Local Criminal Justice Board, I will continue to work with partners within the West Midlands, to improve access to justice for victims, witnesses and defendants and to deliver an effective and efficient criminal justice system.”

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