Police in Derbyshire will give evidence by video in bid to speed up courts
POLICE officers will be able to give evidence to courts without leaving the force's headquarters when new video technology is installed this year.
Derbyshire is one of 13 areas to be introducing the service during 2013.
Announcing the news yesterday, Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said justice would be quicker and more effective as police and court time would be saved.
Superintendent Sunita Gamblin, of Derbyshire police, said a live-link room would be set up this year in the force's Ripley base, linking to Southern Derbyshire and North East Derbyshire magistrates' courts.
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She said: "There are some real big benefits to doing this. It will avoid the need for officers to travel to court – freeing up time.
"The officers can continue with normal duties, instead of waiting around in court, and we will give them a time slot when we want them to go into the live-link room."
Mr Green said: "We want the justice system to respond more effectively to the needs of victims, witnesses and professionals.
"Video technology is vital in this. This is one part of our drive to create a swifter and more efficient justice system for all."
Steve Chappell, deputy chief prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in the East Midlands, said: "Video links are already in use in the courts in Derbyshire in a number of ways, for instance as a special measure for vulnerable witnesses.
"The CPS is fully supportive of this effort to enable police officers to give important evidence to our courts while reducing the time the process takes."
Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire police will also use a video-link system.
Over the past year, about 75,000 video appearances, including those from prisons and police stations, took place during criminal cases in England and Wales, resulting in savings in transport costs and a reduction in prisoner movements.
The live links were used in a range of hearings, from offences such as burglary, theft and assault to first appearances for more serious offences such as murder.
As a result of live links, an estimated 300 police hours were saved as officers avoided wasting time and money by not having to travel to and from court or wait outside the courtroom before giving evidence.