Police cuts are no longer new knowledge, but the impact they are having is still making the front pages of newspapers across the UK. The National Audit Office (NAO) reported a loss of 44,000 police officers and staff since 2010 whilst superintendents are warning that the service is on the verge of crisis. As providers of the most targeted network of UK expert witnesses, we have seen first-hand the necessity for solicitors to appoint experienced former senior detectives as part of Foresight’s investigation services, to provide their unique insight on existing evidence and further investigation. In this week’s blog we want to take a closer look at what police cuts mean for criminal justice and how our investigation services can assist a criminal defence solicitor in ensuring fair trial.
The widely recounted cuts to the police budget often focus on the numbers of police officers, however the reach of the problem goes far beyond the policing bodies on the beat. The possibility for focused and thorough investigation by officers and detectives is diminishing along with the budget. Moreover, the less advertised loss of essential backroom admin staff is putting further strain on filing and computer systems where crucial evidence can understandably become misplaced under immense pressures. Without full disclosure of evidence to the criminal defence solicitor by way of undiscovered or misplaced evidence, it is unsurprising that the rights to criminal justice are being neglected in an increasingly squeezed sector.
When a solicitor appoints investigation services, they are instructing highly experienced former senior detectives and chief police officers. The investigation services begin by reviewing the case and all available evidence to ensure no potential leads have been missed and to highlight any new lines of enquiry. This will involve reviewing witness testimony, CCTV evidence, crime scenes, and previously unused material that may assist the defence. Further to that, the solicitor can benefit from the investigation services re-interviewing the client, their family and witnesses. As experts within their field, the investigation services have an acute eye for finding inconsistences and incompetence within the initial investigation and can therefore discover significant evidence which may prove invaluable to the defence case.
Following up each new lead, the former senior detectives or chief police officers can work alongside other experts such as forensic specialists or where necessary perform human and technical surveillance, and provide written documentation of their process and conclusions in a comprehensive report that can be used directly by the solicitor and shared with the court. Should it be required, the investigations professional can also act as a witness in court, giving further weight to the criminal defence case.
Undoubtedly, the instruction of investigation services can give substantial and significant aid to a criminal defence case and ultimately prevent the miscarriage of justice that police cuts risk. If you require investigation services for your criminal defence case, get in touch with Foresight’s dedicated case managers today.