Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department has spent on (a) supporting vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses, (b) separate secure waiting rooms and (c) video link and screening facilities in each year since 2001.
Helen Grant (Maidstone and The Weald, Conservative)
The Department does not keep this information centrally and it could be collected only at a disproportionate cost.
The Government is committed to ensuring witnesses who attend court are given the necessary support.
Since the enactment of both the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 and the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 significant investment has been made to ensure witnesses can use the special measures that the legislation introduced whenever appropriate. All Crown courts and over 95% of magistrates courts have separate waiting facilities for witnesses and all Crown courts and over 80% of magistrates courts have video link facilities. The first UK Protected Persons Service was announced in December 2012. The UK Protected Persons Service will ensure that witnesses and other vulnerable individuals whose lives are at risk (my italics) receive every possible protection and support. It will do this by:
Introducing national quality standards.
Ensuring better co-ordination across existing fragmented services,
Promoting intelligence sharing between police forces, and
Strengthening local services to create a consistent and accountable service.