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Victims poorly served by justice system changes, says chief constable

The criminal justice system is increasingly stacking up against domestic abuse victims with officers having to release suspects before a decision on charging them is reached, according to West Yorkshire’s chief constable John Robbins.

By contrast, police are able to press charges within hours over other incidents such as a fight in a pub, he said.

“Changes to criminal justice procedures over the last few years have not gone in favour of prosecution, especially on domestic abuse … We’re now required to release [the suspect] and submit a file which is almost trial-ready,” Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus newspaper quoted him as saying at a regional police and crime panel meeting.

The requirement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is a complex process which normally takes at least 28 days and if the CPS decides not to press charges a lot of police work is effectively wasted, he added.

“My concern is for the victims. I think the criminal justice system is stacking against victims. Things are getting, in my opinion, worse rather than better in terms of being able to get swift, speedy justice for victims.”

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