Monday, 6 September 2010

Court Cuts Cause Consternation : Rugby`s Response Resounds

As mentioned in my two previous postings, the government is consulting over the proposed closure of around 103 Magistrates Courts and 54 County Courts.

So far, their biggest achievement is to unite Councillors and MPS of all three major parties against these proposals !

As usual, media pundits are so immersed in the world of Westminster, they hardly seem aware of these developments.

I`ve already mentioned campaigns run by the Keighley News and the Harborough Mail as well as those run by disgruntled Magistrates,  MPs and Councillors independently.

Obviously, I`m not planning to post details of all the campaigns that have sprung up around the country. However, one more won`t hurt before we move on to other things.

In Rugby, Councillors asked Council officials to prepare a report on the likely impact of closure on their area. The officers recommended rejecting the government`s proposals, something that was agreed by all parties represented on the Council.

There are some grounds for singling out Rugby for possible closure in preference to other Courts as the accomodatioon there is held to be poor. However, Councillors point out that there are local factors that need to be considered.

One of particular importance is that Police at the local station use the Court cells for prisoners when their own are full. If the Court closed, then officers who made an arrest and expected to detain someone overnight could find themselves travelling to Nuneaton or Leamington, taking them away from their duties for a considerable time.

Similarly, Council officers making Court appearances as part of their duties can currently do so by making a five minute walk. Moving the Courts elsewhere would take up staff time considerably.

Liberal Democrat leader Jerry Roodhouse commented "It`s yet another service that`s being taken away from us."

Labour`s Ish Mistry said "The impact on the Council will be tremendous in terms of money and resources."

Jim Shera ( Labour ) called for "cross-party agreement that we oppose this vigorously."

Councillor Leigh Hunt ( Conservative ) said that the proposed closure would create "an unsustainable situation."

Local media ;

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