Plans to scrap two leading West Yorkshire courts have been criticised by West Yorkshire’s PCC (12 Feb 2016)

Plans to scrap two leading West Yorkshire courts have again been criticised as an attack on local justice by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. (PCC)

PCC Mark Burns-Williamson had previously written to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to oppose plans to close courts in Calderdale and Wakefield as part of the MOJ's consultation. This week's announcement to close them has now again been questioned by Mr Burns-Williamson, who said it would leave some policing districts without a court.

It would see local court services concentrated in Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield, restricting access to many West Yorkshire residents.

Mark Burns-Williamson, said:

"I wholeheartedly disagree with these planned closures and have previously written to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to oppose these plans to close courts in Calderdale and Wakefield.

"Victims and witnesses come first in my Police and Crime Plan but by reducing the number of courts available their access to local justice is affected.

"Going to court can be a difficult experience for victims and witnesses - by denying local access in this way the Government is making it even more difficult for many people.

"Now these courts in Calderdale and Wakefield are to close then where will a victim or witness local to these courts expect? A trip to Bradford, Leeds or Huddersfield could be expensive and time consuming for many and put people off going through the criminal justice system.

"This development shows how urgently we need to develop the video link facilities in victim's hubs for victims and witnesses in Wakefield and Halifax to help mitigate the impact of these closures. I met with the Local Criminal Justice Board executive members this week and, as a matter of priority, we need to look at this and see how we can move forward with our partners locally.

"The current court set-up is a sensible one because it mirrors the model of five policing districts and council boundaries used by West Yorkshire Police and helps ensure close partnership working with the police and other partners within the criminal justice system.

"By removing the Calderdale and Wakefield courts there will be a situation where, for the first time in my memory, there will be some policing districts without a court."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018