HC Deb 22 March 2001 vol 365 c330W
Mr. Matthew Taylor

To ask the Solicitor-General if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Truro and St. Austell constituency, the effects on Truro and St. Austell of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [154538]

The Solicitor-General

The Truro and St. Austell constituency falls within the geographical area covered by the Devon and Cornwall Area of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). In November 1999, in line with national policy, this area of the CPS, in liaison with the police and the East and West Cornwall Magistrates courts which cover that constituency, introduced procedures based on the Narey proposals. This means that all adult defendants charged with a criminal offence in Cornwall should make their first appearance before either Truro or Bodmin Magistrates court within eight days. This is in line with the Government's policy of speeding up and modernising the criminal justice system.

On 18 December 2000, the Cornwall office of CPS Devon and Cornwall finalised its structure in line with proposals in the Glidewell Review. This represents a policy of more effective working between the police and prosecutors. A CPS Crown Court Unit based in Truro deals with serious crime at Truro Crown court. The CPS has set as a goal the better handling of serious cases in the interests of justice and the victims. A fast-track procedure began on 15 January 2001 throughout England and Wales. It ensures that offences which can only be tried in the Crown court normally come before a judge within eight clear days of their first hearing in the Magistrates court.

The CPS together with other agencies has been working to speed up youth justice, particularly persistent youth offenders. The time taken for persistent youth cases has fallen in the CPS Devon and Cornwall area from 141 days in 1997 to 65 days in the third quarter of 2000. All these changes illustrate the Government's successful policy of speeding up the criminal justice system.

Actions and policies of the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the Serious Fraud Office effect the hon. Member's constituency only indirectly.