Criminal justice system failing to fully implement digitisation

The criminal justice system needs much more work to ensure it can use IT to improve delivery of services, according to a new report.

The joint report from Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) says that despite a drive for increased digitisation, partly to compensate for budget cuts, police and prosecutors are still failing to completely implement digital technology to help carry out criminal justice processes.

The report, ‘Delivering Justice in a Digital Age’, based on inspections of how police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) branches worked in Kent, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Northamptonshire, London and the West Midlands, said that not all partner organisations’ computers ‘talked’ to each other and many forces still carried out manual procedures such as scanning in paper documents and producing print copies of images.

HMCPSI chief inspector Kevin McGinty said: “The digitisation of casework is fundamentally important if we are to ensure that the criminal justice remains effective and efficient. It allows for the faster, cheaper and more effective way of dealing with what used to involve the creation, storage and transfer of very large amounts of paper documentation.

“Our report shows that a number of improvements and steps have been made to modernise the criminal justice system, but that there remains a lot of work to be done to make the system fully digital. It is essential that the criminal justice agencies find a way for their computer systems to talk to each other effectively, thereby reducing delays and speeding the process to the benefit of victims and all court users.

“We will continue to monitor the development of digitisation.”

The report also pointed out that there is currently no reliable digital system for sharing evidence, meaning that evidence had to be sent to the CPS on discs and were often misplaced.

It also said that the criminal justice system lacked a national overview of the savings gained from digitisation and staff training in using new technology was variable.

However, the report highlighted examples of good practice, including the installation of wi-fi in magistrates’ courts, an online charging facility allowing the police and CPS to prioritise workloads, a prosecutor app which enables cases to be updated online from the court in real-time, and the use of body cameras by police.

It recommends that the National Criminal Justice Board reviews the Criminal Justice Exchange to ensure its capacity is fit for purpose; that police forces, courts and the CPS undertake a comprehensive national cost and benefits assessment resulting from digitisation and develop a system to ensure that all forms of evidence can be accessed electronically; and that all police forces and CPS areas urgently review their procedures for transporting hard media.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

23/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Public Sector Executive is no different. Long before Covid-19 even became a thought in the back of our minds, the team at PS... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

public sector events

events calendar


August 2020

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

featured articles

View all News