HC Deb 18 November 1999 vol 339 cc9-10W
Ms Coffey

To ask the Solicitor-General what progress has been made with the introduction of information technology in the Crown Prosecution Service; and if he will make a statement. [98440]

The Solicitor-General

As a first step in the CPS's IT Modernisation Programme, CPS prosecutors and caseworkers will be given modern IT tools and the ability to communicate electronically with other criminal justice agencies. The project will be completed in under two years.

The recent award of £12 million from the Treasury's Capital Modernisation Fund—correcting my answer to the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Kidney) on 21 October 1999, Official Report, column 567—is a major step forward for the CPS. These funds together with a substantial commitment of the CPS's existing resources, will help transform and modernise working practices to deliver better performance.The CPS can start catching-up with IT developments in the criminal justice system and build on its successes in Durham and elsewhere. On 16 September 1999, I visited the CPS office in Stockport, which is a pilot site for an integrated IT system linking the CPS with the police and courts. CPS staff in Stockport, including prosecutors, have embraced enthusiastically the introduction of IT. All staff now use the system to produce correspondence, prepare for trials, and perhaps, more significantly, have established electronic links with the Magistrates Court as well as the Stockport Division of the Greater Manchester Police.