HC Deb 19 December 2000 vol 360 cc105-6W
Mr. Gordon Marsden

To ask the Solicitor-General if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on the Blackpool, South constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [142227]

The Solicitor-General

My hon. Friend's constituency falls within the geographical area covered by Fylde and Lancaster Branch of the Crown Prosecution Service. At the beginning of November 1999, in line with national policy, and in liaison with the police and Lancashire Magistrates' Court Service, the Crown Prosecution Service implemented the Narey recommendations. All defendants charged with a criminal offence now make their first appearance before Blackpool Magistrates' Court within 48 hours.

In the coming year 2001, the structure of the Crown Prosecution Service in Lancashire will be altered in line with the recommendations in the Glidewell Review. This will include the establishment of a Trials Unit for the Crown Court currently dealt with by Fylde and Lancaster casework. It will enable the Crown Prosecution Service to place greater emphasis on the conduct of more serious cases.

The Crown Prosecution Service, together with other agencies, has also helped to draw up an action plan and associated procedures to speed up youth justice, particularly in relation to persistent young offenders. The latest published figure for Lancashire, as a whole shows an average of 74 days from arrest to charge for persistent young offenders. This compares with 91 at the same time in 1999 and the national target of 71 days. The most recent indications are that the figure is further improving.

Neither the Treasury Solicitor's Department nor the Serious Fraud Office has policies which directly affect the hon. Member's constituency.