An online tracking service for victims of crime will help make the criminal justice system easier to navigate, the Ministry of Justice said today.
TrackMyCrime will keep victims updated on the progress of their case and allow them to submit details about stolen or damaged property. Officers and victims will also be able to securely exchange messages any time of the day.
The MoJ acquired the service, which was developed by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, last year.
Victims in Avon and Somerset, Kent and South Yorkshire are already using the service. Further police forces including Humberside, Lancashire and Lincolnshire plan to go live this year.
Bill Waddington, chair of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association, said the MoJ was desperately adding sticking plasters to the biggest cracks within the criminal justice system which, he said, the ministry knew was on the verge of collapse.
‘Obviously a victim wants to know about the progress of his or her case,’ Waddington said. ‘Frankly there is little or no difference to a victim whether they are being told by letter that their case is delayed because of lack of court time, or because there have been disclosure delays by the CPS, or whether they are being told by some online tracking system.
‘The bottom line in this example is that the case is delayed. The proposals just do not address the issues.’
The latest government initiative comes the day after home secretary Theresa May (pictured) announced plans for victims to report non-emergency crimes online.
The Home Office will be working with Surrey and Sussex police forces to develop a prototype for people to report non-emergency crime that could eventually be made available across the country.
It is estimated that online crime reporting could save up to £3.7m and 180,000 officer hours per year if it is adopted by all police forces.
The government’s latest efforts come days after a report by the Victims’ Commissioner said victims were being let down by criminal justice agencies.
The issue is likely to be a key justice battleground in the run-up to the general election, with Labour having pledged to create a victims’ law to restore confidence in the system and help victims who are required to give evidence in court.