I recently met with Paul Maynard, Minister for Courts and Legal Aid at the Ministry of Justice, and Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk to discuss concerns about access to justice in Bury St Edmunds.
During the positive meeting, I raised the issues being faced by all service users, but particularly victims and professionals, and how to improve access to justice locally. The closure of magistrates courts in our area has led to people having to travel significant distances to Ipswich or Cambridge.
The Minister was receptive to my concerns and is keen to look at how the situation can be improved. I am interested in exploring the use of shared community facilities as temporary courts, such as those that have been put in place around the country. This would lower costs while ensuring local justice remains.
Delivering justice locally is vitally important. It shows the community that crime is taken seriously and acts as a deterrent to those who may be inclined to break the law. I will continue to work with Tim to push for local provision of court facilities in Bury St Edmunds. I am very keen that we look at building provision into the public service village in West Suffolk to bring joined up services to the area.
A further meeting has been planned to ensure progress on this important issue.