Laws Criminal Justice Process

Topics: Criminal law, Crime, Police Pages: 107 (32877 words) Published: March 14, 2013
The aims and values of
‘criminal justice’
Let no-one be in any doubt, the rules of the game are changing. (Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, 5 August 2005).

Key issues:
• The structure of the criminal justice system
• Blurring civil and criminal boundaries: ASBOs and similar • Proving guilt and innocence: burden and standard of proof • Adversarial and inquisitorial approaches
• Recent trends in crime and criminal justice
• Packer’s ‘due process’ and ‘crime control’ models • The human rights approach to criminal justice
• The managerial approach to criminal justice
• Where do victims fit into these approaches?
• Our approach: the ‘freedom’ model

1.1 The nature and structure of

‘criminal justice’
A book with a title as vague as ‘criminal justice’ should begin by saying what it is about. In thinking about criminal justice we all have our own images and assumptions. In this chapter we spell out our own assumptions. We also explain the theoretical framework within which we think criminal justice in England and Wales can most usefully be understood, criticised and reformed. We see the criminal justice system as a complex social institution1 which regulates potential, alleged and actual criminal 1

01_Sanders_Chap01.indd 1

See further Garland D, Punishment and Modern Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990) p 282.

6/24/2010 3:25:44 PM

The aims and values of ‘criminal justice’

activity within limits designed to protect people from wrongful treatment and wrongful conviction. In the rst three editions of this book we focused mainly on police, prosecution and court powers and procedures in respect of alleged crime, resulting in either ‘diversion’ out of the system (eg, through the imposition of a police or prosecution caution) or court proceedings. But recent years have witnessed a recon guration of criminal law and criminal justice in favour of crime pre-emption through risk management techniques.2 Underpinning this shi in orientation is the ideological view that public safety and the interests of victims should be given greater weight than civil liberties and the rights of suspects. It follows that while the determination of guilt and innocence is still hugely important, this must now be considered alongside the control of potential criminal activity through risk management devices such as dispersal and anti-social behaviour orders (see 1.2.2). In this section we introduce some of the key issues and tensions inherent in this recon guration of ‘criminal justice’ and also discuss the key terms ‘criminal’ and ‘justice’. First we outline the structure and core terminology of the traditional English3 criminal process for readers unfamiliar with this jurisdiction, and explain how this relates to the organisation of this book.

1.1.1 The structure of the English criminal process Criminal process

Anyone who thinks a crime may have been committed may (but need not)4 report this to a law enforcement body. As we will see in ch 7, there are many enforcement bodies. First, there are 43 ‘local’ police forces, roughly corresponding with local authority areas. Second, there are also some national police bodies such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the British Transport Police. ird, many types of crime that would be called ‘administrative o ences’ in some other countries – eg health and safety violations, pollution, tax evasion – are dealt with by specialist agencies such as the Health and Safety Executive. In addition, a lot of ‘policing’ is done by private agencies, such as security rms, which, like ordinary witnesses and victims, generally call in the police if they detect suspected crimes and want further action taken. e police may seek to nd evidence of guilt through the use of powers such as stop-search (see ch 2), arrest (ch 3), detention and interrogation (chs 4–5) and a variety of other non-interrogative means including electronic surveillance (ch 6). Enforcement bodies are not...
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