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‘Justice centre’ could be closed
A £3 MILLON office complex aimed at speeding up justice and giving crime victims a better deal could close under Government spending cuts.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is proposing to shut its joint offices with North Yorkshire Police at Athena House, Clifton Moor, York.
The purpose-built complex cost £3 million, and was opened in 2005 in a bid to cut court delays and costs by putting police and prosecutors alongside each other working from the same files.
But now the CPS is proposing moving most of its North Yorkshire and York work to its Leeds base, though the organisation would maintain a York presence at a location to be announced.
It currently has 64 staff based at Athena House, including all those who handle cases from York and Selby.
A CPS spokesman said: “If implemented, the proposal will enable the quality of our service to the people of North Yorkshire to be maintained at a time when, along with all government departments, staff numbers are reducing considerably. Digital working will complement the proposed consolidation of our operations across Yorkshire and Humberside. It will enable information to be shared electronically across our offices in Yorkshire and Humberside, and with police colleagues. Eventually we will no longer be reliant on a paper file.”
The department will finish an “informal” consultation with its staff, trade unions, local courts, the probation service, police and others tomorrow.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “As the CPS are still in negotiations with their staff about a possible move, it is inappropriate for the force to make any comment at this stage.”
Athena House was opened by the then Chief Constable of North Yorkshire, Della Cannings, who hailed it as “essential” in making her force the best in the country and giving an “improved standard of victim and witness care”. Also at the opening was the then Director of Public Prosecutions, now Sir Ken MacDonald QC.
His successor, Keir Starmer QC, was in York last week for a pre-planned visit to meet and talk to staff.
The CPS said there would be no compulsory redundancies among its staff.
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