David Lidington to pilot deferred prosecution scheme in London

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Dec 19, 2017
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David Lidington is responding to recommendations from a report into the experiences of ethnic minorities in the justice system

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A deferred prosecution scheme is to be piloted in London which would allow low-level offenders to attend rehabilitation schemes and then have charges against them dropped, the justice secretary confirmed this morning.

David Lidington also said data would be analysed and published regularly to monitor whether those from ethnic minority backgrounds continue to be disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.

The moves were part of a wider announcement from Lidington that he would act on the findings of a review conducted by the Labour MP and barrister David Lammy. That review, published in October, highlighted evidence that people from ethnic minority backgrounds have a worse experience of the criminal justice system than their white counterparts. Lammy’s research found that ethnic minority men and women represent 25 per cent of the UK prison population, despite being 14 per cent of the wider population.

Lidington said this morning that he would “take forward work around each of the 35 recommendations”. He also maintained that action had been taken already on several of Lammy’s recommendations.

The Ministry of Justice said that it had begun discussions with the mayor of London’s office for policing and crime about creating a deferred prosecution pilot scheme. A new race and ethnicity board will oversee the project.

“This is the very first step in a change of attitude towards race disparity that will touch on every part of the criminal justice system for years to come,” Lidington said.

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