§ Mr. Maclean
The analysis contained in police research group paper 3, which was the work of independent consultants from PA Consulting Group commissioned by my right hon. and learned Friend, provided much of the source material for the Masefield scrutiny into administrative burdens on the police in the context of the criminal justice system.
The 16 recommendations contained in PA's report are reflected in the recommendations and endorsements subsequently presented in the Masefield scrutiny report. These recommendations are being taken forward by the trial issues group. An action plan is prepared quarterly to track progress with implementing the recommendations.
§ Mr. Maclean
The Masefield scrutiny into administrative burdens on the police in the context of the criminal justice system reported in June 1995. Recommendation 4 and endorsements 8 and 9 in the report concerned police paperwork on case files.
Full or phased implementation of new style abbreviated files—endorsement 8—is taking place in 40 forces with the remaining three planning to introduce the new files by 31 December 1996. These new files were designed to reduce significantly the number of administrative documents required in cases which are likely to result in a guilty plea in the magistrates court. Police forces are required to prepare and implement a programme to employ civilians to produce records of taped interviews, or ROTIs—recommendation 4. A Home Office circular issued in July 1995 asked chief officers to implement this recommendation by 31 March 1997. In the new style abbreviated files, ROTIs have been replaced with short descriptive notes, or SDNs, comprising brief accounts of admissions, any mitigating or aggravating features and other relevant material. The SDNs are being piloted for 12 months.
The scrutiny endorsed the use of dual case files by the police and Crown Prosecution Service—endorsement 9. A total of 37 forces have now implemented the dual file system, with three others planning to do so by the end of 1996.
A copy of the scrutiny report has been placed in the Library.