The Association of Chief Police Officers’ campaign for
reform the criminal justice system, has been backed by learning
difficulty charity Mencap, writes Clare
Acpo believes vulnerable witnesses are not protected by modern
trials which have become too much of a tactical game played between
lawyers, rather than a search for truth. The association finds
victims of crime feel let down by the system when criminal
offenders are not held to account for their crimes.
It calls for courts to be designed to prevent witness
intimidation, and rigorous pre-trial preparation to prevent
unnecessary calling of witnesses.
The association urges more use of relevant technology to allow
witnesses to be remote from court, and stresses that respect should
be given to witnesses and victims.
Mencap’s director of public affairs David Congdon said:
“We support ACPO’s calls for a radical reform of the criminal
justice system to ensure that it totally meets the needs of victims
of crime including people with a learning disability.”
“Mencap has been aware of too many cases in which the criminal
justice system has not been geared up to take seriously the
evidence of those with learning disabilities,” he added.
Mencap’s report ‘Living in Fear’ revealed that
nearly 90 per cent of people with a learning difficulty experienced
bullying in the past year. Research has also shown that there are
at least 1,400 incidences of sexual abuse against people with a
learning difficulty every year.