Enable police to give court evidence remotely

The Police and Crime Commissioner is keen to enable police officers and staff to be able to give evidence to court remotely, using officer and staff time more efficiently.

All three custody blocks within Dorset have ‘live links’ hardware to enable police officers and staff to give evidence away from the court room.

Currently, evidence may be given remotely and directly from Bournemouth Custody to Poole Magistrates Court, following a pilot scheme which ran in 2018. The service was relaunched in summer 2019 after the resolution of issues identified during the pilot phase and it is expected to expand to Weymouth Magistrates Court then to Bournemouth Crown Court.

The PCC has pursued progress in this technology through his attendance at the Dorset Criminal Justice Board and through ongoing liaison between criminal justice partner agencies and staff within the Commissioner's Office.

In May 2019, a member of the Police & Crime Panel carried out a ‘spotlight scrutiny’ review of this commitment, along with related commitments. The comment was:

 “There is good evidence that the investment of equipment, IT and staff has made a difference in how witnesses and victims can provide evidence. With the additional support provided by the Witness Care Team and the efficiencies gained from freeing up police officer time the review has established that this has been money well spent. The use also of video enabled technology to assist police in other functions (interviews, Inspector Reviews etc.) has also made a difference in reducing officer time in travel and in turn efficiently deliver elements of the detention process.

“The current response by the police in how defendants are managed is a pragmatic response that is efficient, effective and economical.”

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