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CPS Mersey-Cheshire aims to be first to bar paper

07/10/2011

CPS Mersey-Cheshire to switch on to digital working

Merseyside's top prosecutor has backed his team to be the first CPS Area in England and Wales to go fully digital.

Paul Whittaker CBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, spoke out after criminal lawyers at a Law Society event were told that the CPS is aiming to scrap paper by April next year.

Mr Whittaker said: "Merseyside is leading the way on electronic working and I believe that we will be one of the first to press the button on a fully digital service.

"Our witness care unit is already completely electronic and is seen as best practice nationally.

"We have been receiving files electronically from the police some time now, all of our first appearance hearings are now fully digital and two-thirds of our early guilty plea cases are managed without recourse to paper.

Mr Whittaker added: "Our prosecutors have presented hearings from tablet-style devices in local Magistrates' Courts; and Liverpool Crown Court was the first Crown Court in the country to go digital for the day recently."

Mr Whittaker's comments come after Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, told lawyers at a Law Society seminar that the service is aiming to go electronic by April 2012 and highlighted Liverpool for its innovative approach.

"We are working closely with our criminal justice partners in the police, courts and probation to ensure that we develop a system which can work for us all and, most importantly, provide efficient, effective justice," said Mr Whittaker.

CPS Mersey-Cheshire was one of the first to begin the move to a digital service. The team has held seminars with local defence firms to allay their concerns and encourage them to sign-up to secure email; enabling digital casework to become the norm on both sides of the justice service.

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For more information or requests for interviews please contact Sharon King, Area Communications Manager, CPS Mersey-Cheshire 0151 239 6465 or 07717 618804.