Key Staff Show Life Inside Criminal Justice System

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 5, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Key Staff Show Life Inside Criminal Justice System


Byline: By Rin Simpson Western Mail

The highs and lows of the Welsh criminal justice system, are revealed today by those who work within it.

Six key staff - including members of the police, forensic science service and the legal profession - were questioned about their day-to-day lives and the difficulties they face.

Some admitted they struggle to work within the confines of laws which seem to stand in the way of justice, while others said they have to fight public opinion and the media.

For John McCarthy, defence solicitor and associate partner in the criminal justice department of Leo Abse & Cohen, the worst thing about the job is keeping up with the constant changes in the criminal justice field.

He said, 'The Government has passed far too many Acts of Parliament which causes problems for defence solicitors and particularly for judges who have to interpret the law.

'The Government seems to make new laws every time a problem arises, this causes new problems and only succeeds in making the law more complicated than it needs to be.'

In the police service, administration is the biggest bugbear.

Inspector Tony Bishop of Cardiff Police said, 'Over the years, admin had certainly increased and although it's right that we have to be accountable, that has come at a cost.

'We arrest a straightforward shoplifter and that can take a police officer off the street for a number of hours. I want him back out walking up and down St Mary Street.'

But there are areas where the good is triumphing over bad in the war against crime.

Inspector Bishop continued, 'On a Friday and Saturday night there can be 40,000 in Cardiff city centre and if we get more than 10 arrests that's a busy night, so that's a small percentage.

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