Commenting on findings showing that thousands of prosecutions were dropped by police during the pandemic to avoid increasing the backlog of court cases, Chair of the Bar Council, Amanda Pinto QC, said:
“These findings go to show that the current backlog of cases waiting to be heard in courts could have been even more worrying than the extreme levels we’ve already seen throughout the pandemic. Covid-19 has forced priorities to shift but we know that it is not the only culprit here: years of underinvestment in justice meant cases were prevented from getting heard in a reasonable time in court before the pandemic.
"It is extremely telling of the Government’s priorities that the police have been finding ways tactically to avoid exacerbating the dire state of the justice system, while the Government refuses to invest to address the underlying problem and support public safety long-term. The Government must press forward to reduce the backlog through greater use of the existing court estate, more Nightingale Courts, greater use of better technology and significant staff recruitment, so that the public is safe and faith in justice is restored.”