Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fears of Spiralling Gang Violence as 11 Courts in London Are Closed

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fears of Spiralling Gang Violence as 11 Courts in London Are Closed

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham

MINISTERS were today accused of risking an increase in gang violence after announcing the closure of 11 London courts in a [pounds sterling]41.5 million cost-cutting programme.

Under the plans, Balham youth court, which deals with some of the capital's most serious juvenile offenders, will close along with nine magistrates' courts and Ilford county court.

The Ministry of Justice argues that the closures will create a more efficient system and allow money to be focused on providing better facilities in those that remain. It also insists that plans to allow police to give evidence via video link from police stations, which will be tested from next year, mean that fewer courts will be needed. Opponents have criticised the closures as short-sighted and harmful to justice. Caroline Joy, the chairman of Balham youth court, today warned that they could lead to increased gang violence.

She said this was because Lambeth gang members, who are dealt with at Balham, are now due to be switched to Camberwell, taking them into Southwark, where their rivals operate. …

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