Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Inside Justice week

Merseyside justice system opens its doors to the public

The public in Merseyside will have the chance to gain a unique glimpse behind the criminal justice system as this year's Inside Justice Week gets underway across the county.

Activities planned include interactive trials with local schoolchildren playing the major roles in St Georges Hall, mock sentencing events and open days at Liverpool's Community Justice Centre, Birkenhead Magistrates' Court, Kirkby police station and North Sefton Magistrates' Court, Inside Justice Week roadshows and a University Challenge style competition for students across Liverpool.

Merseyside Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe, chair of Merseyside Criminal Justice Board said:
"Justice matters to everyone: in any decent society justice must be done and be seen to be done. The Criminal Justice System must also have the confidence of the law-abiding majority.

This is why Inside Justice Week is so important. It is a chance for the public throughout Merseyside, who may have never come into contact with the justice system, to look behind the scenes , ask questions and find out more.

ìThe justice system is for the public. It only works when they are prepared to be witnesses, complainants or jurors. Please come and look at any of the event"

Prime Minister Tony Blair said:

"Inside Justice Week is a great opportunity for the public to see what goes on behind the scenes of our courts, police stations and prisons. I believe such openness can only help improve public understanding of the challenges our criminal justice system faces and the dedication of the staff who work within it. This dedication is recognised through the Justice Awards which celebrate just some of the outstanding contributions of front-line staff. They deserve all our thanks for their hard work and commitment."

Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland said "I am delighted to welcome in the third annual Inside Justice Week.

I hope the week will give the public a clearer understanding of the criminal justice systemís inner workings ñ be it through taking a rare look inside a court room at an open day or speaking to frontline staff at a community road show.

Frontline staff and local communities play a critical role in building an effective and fair justice system. Inside Justice Week is all about celebrating and encouraging this contribution."

The aim of this year's Inside Justice Week is to open up the justice system to the public in order to:

Increase people's knowledge and understanding of the
Criminal Justice System
Encourage people to get involved by publicising the range of career and volunteering opportunities available in the Criminal Justice System
Inform people about the support available should they come into contact with the justice system, either as a victim of crime, witness, juror or as someone accused of a crime.

Inside Justice Week runs across England and Wales from 18-25 November. For more information about the campaign, please visit www.cjsonline.gov.uk/insidejustice

The winners of the Justice Awards will be announced on 24 November. For more information, please visit www.cjsonline.gov.uk/justiceawards

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