Sussex Police has received an award of £1.1m to help it provide the video technology required to full digitise the criminal justice system in the area over the next 18 months.
The grant, which will be delivered over a two year period, is part of the government’s £50m Police Innovation Fund that was established to help transform Policing across the UK via innovation and collaboration.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne and the Sussex Criminal Justice Board led the bid for the funding, with support from various related agencies across the area.
These include Sussex Police, Victim Support, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), HM Courts and Tribunals Service, Probation Service, Prison Service, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Criminal Defence Solicitors.
The organisations are hoping to use the £1.1m award to work closely together and ensure swifter, safer justice for victims and witnesses of crime.
According to Sussex Police, the proposed model supports Policing Minister Mike Penning’s Criminal Justice System Efficiency Programme, as well as other models designed to improve services provided by Magistrates’ Courts.
“All criminal justice services are striving to improve outcomes for victims, which is why partners in Sussex have worked together to develop this bid,” claimed Detective Superintendent (DI) Nick Sloan, who has been seconded to the PCC’s office to lead the Sussex digital reform programme.
“The new model is not about simply overlaying video technology on top of the current criminal justice system – it’s about redesigning the way we work locally and using video technology to improve that process.
“Ultimately, it will ensure that vulnerable victims and witnesses will be better cared for,” DI Sloan added.
It is hoped that an improvement in the video technology used in Sussex with lead to many benefits, including a significant re-investment of Police time by reducing time spent by front-line Police officers travelling to and giving evidence in court.
Significant costs savings, reduced risks to public safety, increased efficiencies, reductions in expenses, reductions in transport costs and the removal of the need for NHS nurses to take time away from direct patient care to escort people to court are also expected.
“This is a huge win for Sussex taxpayers who will benefit from an enhanced local policing service as a result of these innovative projects,” claimed Sussex PCC Katy Bourne.
“These bids clearly demonstrate the benefits of working closely with other Police forces and partners, not only to improve efficiencies but, crucially, to keep people safe,” Bourne added.