Has the hon. and learned Gentleman noticed that Question Time for him and the Attorney-General is unique, in that they do not attract the usual fawning and obsequious questions from Conservative Members? Is that not because there is widespread dismay about their stewardship of the Crown Prosecution Service and our justice system?
The common experience of Members of Parliament across the House is that the CPS is not performing and is not responsive and sensitive to those who feel that they are victims, and that there are inordinate delays and insufficient prosecutions pursued with vigour. Is it not time that something was done about that? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman bear it in mind that that is the view of Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, as demonstrated by the fact that no support comes from those on the Benches behind him?
Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong again. Those hon. Members who go to their local branch of Crown prosecutors—they are few and far between, I regret to say—almost without exception come away very impressed with the professionalism, care, skill and dedication of the people who work in the CPS. Let that be known.
Yes, I agree that it is. As I travel round the country or appear in court cases and speak to police officers at all levels, almost without exception they speak highly of the professionalism shown in their cases by the Crown Prosecution Service. Whenever possible, we are astute at reducing the paperwork involved in the preparation of cases. In the past 12 months, we have introduced a scheme to reduce paperwork in guilty pleas in the magistrates court, which should annually reduce the amount of paperwork by about 5 million pieces.