Community Justice Centres: Liverpool

Justice written question – answered on 9th September 2013.

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Photo of Louise Ellman Louise Ellman Chair, Transport Committee, Chair, Transport Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) what assessment he has carried out of the work undertaken by the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre;

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre on (a) crime rates in Liverpool and (b) the work of community groups in North Liverpool.

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

The findings of a full evaluation of the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre were published in July 2012. The report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/north-liverpool-community-justice-centre-analysis-of-re-offending-rates-and-efficiency-of-court-processes

Its key points included:

there was no evidence that the Centre was more effective in reducing reoffending than other courts; offenders were more likely to breach a court order at the centre than other courts; and court hearing performance varied. There was some indication that cases were dealt with more quickly and with fewer hearings per case going to trial, but a higher proportion of ‘cracked’ trials (where guilty pleas are entered on the day) which waste time and costs for all parties.

(a) The evaluation report sets out crime rates for Merseyside between 2004-05 and 2009-10. This shows that over that period:

crime rates in north Liverpool reduced by a greater degree than across England and Wales more generally and by a greater degree than other parts of Merseyside; crime rates in north Liverpool remained significantly higher than the national and Merseyside averages.

As stated in the full evaluation report on the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre published in 2012. It is not possible to attribute levels of reduced crime rates to the work of the centre.

(b) On its launch in 2005, one of the key objectives of the centre was to focus on community engagement and working with community groups. Its community engagement activity peaked in 2008-09 when the centre held over 200 community events involving 20,000 people. Research undertaken in 2011 found, however, that local awareness of the community work led by the centre was low. More recently, local community engagement activity has diminished as the workload of the centre has changed and widened beyond the centre's catchment area. A number of community groups were specifically invited to respond to a recent consultation on the future of the centre and have not done so.

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