Q797: What will the relationship be between Police and Crime Commissioners and the Criminal Justice System?
The reciprocal duty to co-operate aims to ensure that the decisions that the Police and Crime Commissioners and their partners take on local priorities and investment take account of their wider implications. The legislation names the criminal justice bodies which currently form Local Criminal Justice Boards (youth offending teams, probation, prison, crown prosecution service, courts, police). There may be a local imperative to include a wider range of bodies such as victims' organisations or defence solicitors.
Ministers have been clear from the start that there may be a potential future role for Police and Crime Commissioners in respect of the wider criminal justice system as further reforms develop. In any event it makes good strategic and business sense to ensure collaboration arrangements are in the best possible shape ahead of the arrival of these new, pivotal figures in the local Criminal Justice System.
It is recognised that the independence of the judiciary and prosecution should not be compromised, although Police and Crime Commissioners will retain a legitimate interest in the administration of justice in their area. The law states that in exercising their functions, the elected policing body and the criminal justice bodies 'must make arrangements (so far as it is appropriate to do so) for the exercise of functions so as to provide an efficient and effective criminal justice system'.