Bail dodgers to face police blitz: CPS Thames Valley welcomes Operation Turn-Up.


CPS Thames Valley welcomes blitz on bail dodgers - Operation Turn-Up launched in Thames Valley.

A crackdown on defendants who fail to appear at court will be launched on Friday, January 14th 2005.

Criminal Justice agencies across Thames Valley will target people who are wanted on warrant after failing to appear at court.

The campaign, code-named Operation Turn-Up, is part of a national drive to ensure those who have skipped bail are caught and brought to book.

Police will be visiting defendants homes unannounced and will bring them to court to face justice. If they are not in, a postcard will be dropped through their letterbox advising them to surrender of their own accord.

Insp Rodger Cartwright from the Criminal Justice department in Thames Valley Police, said: "Operation Turn-Up is a reminder that those who skip bail will be caught. My advice to anyone with a guilty conscience is to hand yourself in, rather than wait for a knock at your door at a time when you are not expecting it."

Helen Draycott, Head of the Trials Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service in Thames Valley said: "We welcome this move to follow-up on warrants. The public deserve to have confidence in the system and the pursuit of those who fail to answer their warrants can only promote this confidence. The CPS has been intent on seeing these cases prosecuted, however, defendants who fail to appear at court frustrate the progress of justice. Those who skip bail should get the clear message that the warrant to appear at court is taken seriously."

The arrests are a series of blitzes that will happen across England and Wales throughout the start of 2005. They will happen at different times so bail dodgers with a Fail to Appear (FTA) warrant won't know when they can expect a visit.

People skipping bail cause havoc to the criminal justice system, delaying and lengthening court cases and putting victims and witnesses under unnecessary stress.

Insp Cartwright added: "Anyone thinking about skipping bail should think again. This is an offence and we will be dealing with bail dodgers robustly."