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Govt to announce £20m boost for commissioners

The Government will announce an extra £20 million of funding to boost troubled Police Crime Commissioners (PCC) after their difficult first year.

Policing Minister Damian Green is expected to make the announcement in a speech later today at an event for PCCs.

He will say:

For all its imperfections - concerns over expenses, clashes between PCCs and chiefs, the occasional questionable appointment - the democratic system we have installed is infinitely better than that which preceded it.

I am sure some people thought PCCs were a passing fad. But on the eve of the anniversary of the first elections they should now be able to see that they are here to stay.

And far from shying away from our landmark reform, it is our intention to reinforce, strengthen and expand this new democratic institution."

– Policing Minister Damian Green

Justice Minister: Older jurors have 'life experience'

Raising the age to which someone can sit on a jury to 75 is about "harnessing" the knowledge and "life experiences" of a generation, said Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green.

The right to be tried by your peers is, and remains, a cornerstone of the British Justice system laid down in the Magna Carta almost 800 years ago.

Our society is changing and it is vital that the criminal justice system moves with the times. The law as it currently stands does not take into account the increases to life expectancy that have taken place over the past 25 years

This is about harnessing the knowledge and life experiences of a group of people who can offer significant benefits to the court process

– Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green

Each year, around 178,000 people in England and Wales undertake jury service, but currently only those between 18 and 70 can sit as jurors.

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Magistrates should focus on making 'real difference'

Justice minister Damian Green is expected to say that magistrates should focus their time on cases where they make a "real difference" to communities.

For example, three magistrates needn't spend time rubber-stamping foregone conclusions in simple road traffic cases where the defendant doesn't contest the matter, and doesn't even turn up.

One magistrate could deal with this much more efficiently in an office.

Around 40 percent of defendants that are convicted in magistrates' courts and then committed to the crown court for custodial sentences receive no more than six months imprisonment.

– Damian Green, The Minister for Justice

Make greater use of Magistrates, says justice minister

Magistrates sign
Justice Minister Damian Green is expected to call for more cases to be tried in Magistrates courts. Credit: PA

More cases should be tried at magistrates courts rather than crown courts, the justice minister will say later today.

In a speech to magistrates, Damian Green is expected to say four in 10 people appearing at crown courts could be sentenced at magistrates court instead.

The speech comes ahead of a public consultation into the role of magistrates, who have limited powers to convict and sentence minor crimes.

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'Sickening' child abuse must not remain hidden

Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green has outlined steps he is taking to ensure that "sickening" sexual crimes against children do not remain hidden.

Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green
Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

He said: "Police are bringing more cases before the courts and significant sentences are being handed down to perpetrators.

"But more needs to be done. Ceop is doing excellent work and we will see its capability strengthened when it is transferred to the National Crime Agency later this year.

"I am leading a new Home Office group which is urgently looking at how we better identify those at risk, create a more victim-focused culture within the police, health and children's services, improve data-sharing and address cultural barriers to uncovering abuse."

Cautions should be given in 'exceptional circumstances'

Policing minister Damian Green said that a forthcoming review into the use of cautions by the police is intended to ensure serious and repeat criminals end up before a court.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

It may be that the guidelines were not clear enough in the past and the new guidance we are issuing actually does provide more specific guidance on the exceptional circumstances when you can give a caution even if there is a serious offence committed.

It may well be something to do with the mental health or the age of the offender.

You do have to give that ultimate decision to the police officer involved but I do think in terms of having general confidence in the system it is clear, on the whole, you only want cautions to be used for low level offences for first time offenders and so on.

– Damian Green, policing minister

Read: Report: Review to be launched into 'cautions culture'

Immigration minister: London Met 'seriously breached' visa licence

Immigration Minister Damian Green on risk of deportation of foreign students. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The London Metropolitan University had "seriously breached" their visa licence privileges, the immigration minister Damian Green told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Mr Green said: "London Met was seriously deficient as a sponsor and could not remain in this way."

He added that the university had "failed" in three major areas of their 'Highly Trusted Status' including that more than a quarter of students did not have "leave of remain".

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