This initial assessment of criminal justice resources, staffing and workloads was carried out during October and November 2008 by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies for a group of professional bodies and trade unions representing those who work in the criminal justice system. Those bodies are: Napo, the professional organisation and trade union for probation officers; POA, the union for prison officers; PCS, the union for a variety of staff in the justice sector; UNISON, representing a wide variety of police and probation staff and the Police Federation, representing the professional interests of police officers up to the rank of Chief Inspector. The authors received helpful advice and guidance from a number of representatives of these organisations. However, the research and analysis was carried out independently of these bodies. The analysis and conclusions remain those of the authors alone.
Following a number of years of significant budget increases across the criminal justice system, the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review signalled a period of much tighter departmental budgets. Press reports in October 2008 suggested that the Ministry of Justice was facing a real terms cut in its budget of 1.7 per cent between 2008-2009 and 2010-2011. The Ministry was reported to be drawing up plans to save £900 million over that period, with nearly 10,000 jobs going across the various criminal justice agencies. The 2008 pre-budget report, which was published just as this initial assessment was being finalised, does not appear to alter this picture in any significant manner.
The aim of this initial assessment is to provide a short retrospective analysis of key current data relating to budgets, staffing and workloads in the criminal justice system, particularly in relation to prison, probation, the police and the courts. The assessment is intended to highlight changes to the criminal justice system from 2001 to 2007. The assessment draws on work carried out by the Centre over recent years; in particular:
- A critical analysis of Labour’s criminal justice reforms, published in January 2007
- A review of Probation Service resources, staffing and workloads, published in April 2008.
In addition, the authors have reviewed official data and recent reports from a variety of governmental and other sources, which will be referenced during the course of this assessment.