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The Times launches inquiry

The Times has announced The Times Crime and Justice Commission; a year-long inquiry to consider the future of policing and the criminal justice system.

The Times launches inquiry
Rachel Sylvester: “We are thankful to our brilliant list of commissioners for agreeing to take part, and we will work with them to ensure the recommendations are heard and can lead to positive change.”

The Commission, which follows The Times Education Commission and The Times Health Commission, will run for a year, with a final report published in April next year, added The Times.

Beginning on the 22nd April it says it will hold fortnightly evidence sessions, with witnesses including police officers, victims, judges, lawyers, prison officers, scientists, business leaders and academics.

Rachel Sylvester, Times columnist and chair of the commission, said: “The Times Education and Health commissions were a huge success in informing public debate and shaping policy ideas.

“We are now focusing on crime and justice at a time when the UK has a knife crime crisis, a shoplifting epidemic, the growing threat of cyber-crime, concerns about the culture of the police, court backlogs, problems with legal aid and overflowing prisons.

“We are thankful to our brilliant list of commissioners for agreeing to take part, and we will work with them to ensure the recommendations are heard and can lead to positive change.”

Dame Sharon White, the chairwoman of the John Lewis Partnership, Peter Clarke, the former head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, Lord Burnett of Maldon, the former Lord Chief Justice, Sir Tom Winsor, the former chief inspector of constabulary and Baronness Manningham Buller, the former head of MI5 are among the other Commissioners, the publisher continued.

It says it will draw up recommendations for reform in the following ten areas:

  1. Policing (including the culture of the police)
  2. Knife crime, gangs and acquisitive crime
  3. Violence against women and girls
  4. Cyber-crime, fraud and online harms
  5. Terrorism
  6. The causes of crime (including mental health, special educational needs and addition)
  7. The court system
  8. Sentencing policy and the judiciary
  9. Prisons, probation and rehabilitation
  10. The role of new technology and forensics

There will be five meetings of the whole commission over the course of the year. Baroness Casey of Blackstock, the author of a review about the culture of the Metropolitan Police, will give evidence at the first session.

The Times says the commission will consult widely with victims and practitioners to identify problems in the system and work out pragmatic, practical solutions.

The recommendations will be focussed on the criminal justice system in England but the commission will also consider the lessons to be learnt from around the UK and examine international police, court and prison systems to identify examples of best practice.

List of commissioners:

  • Lord Burnett of Maldon, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
  • Peter Clarke, former head of counter-terrorism for the Metropolitan Police and former chief inspector of prisons
  • Martin Griffiths, trauma surgeon and NHS England’s national clinical lead for violence reduction
  • Nick Hardwick, former chief inspector of prisons and former head of Parole Board
  • Sir Max Hill, former director of Public Prosecutions
  • Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Anne Longfield, former children’s commissioner, head of commission on young lives
  • Baroness Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5
  • Sandra Paul, partner in the criminal litigation department at Kingsley Napley and author of the police station handbook
  • Jason Pitter KC, leader of the North East Circuit of the Bar
  • Natasha Porter, CEO of Unlocked Graduates (Teach First for prison officers)
  • Dame Anne Rafferty, former high court judge and Lady Justice of Appeal
  • Lade Smith, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a forensic psychiatrist
  • Dame Sara Thornton, former chief constable of Thames Valley Police, former chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council
  • James Timpson, CEO of the Timpson Group, which employs ex-offenders
  • Claire Waxman, Independent Victims’ Commissioner for London
  • Dame Sharon White, chairwoman of the John Lewis Partnership
  • Sir Tom Winsor, former chief inspector of constabulary

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