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‘Life On Mars’ courtrooms upgrade

‘Life On Mars’ courtrooms upgrade

Digital technology will bring courtrooms in England and Wales – which have been compared to 1970s-set crime drama Life On Mars – up to date by 2016.

The modernisation will come thanks to a £160 million investment in wireless technology, according Justice Minister Damian Green. Mr Green told the think tank Policy Exchange in London that criminal justice system staff enjoy full modern technological benefits at home – “but at work, it feels like Life On Mars.” He described work systems as cumbersome and incompatible, which leads to “too much time spent at the photocopier, not combating crime. Too much time doing data entry, not out protecting the public.”

Mr Green presented a plan which will see most high-volume, low-level “regulatory” cases tackled away from traditional magistrates’ courtrooms to free up time to handle more serious cases. These lesser cases include TV licence evasion and several road offences. He has already unveiled a Criminal Justice Board to develop the strategy and oversee its delivery. The board includes a senior judge, a police and crime commissioner (PCC) representative and College of Policing chief executive Alex Marshall. There are plans for better mobile phones for police to provide real-time intelligence and local information for officers to start building case files from the street.

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