Major investment to improve performance of criminal justice chain

Major investments will be made in the criminal justice chain in the coming years, aiming to shorten processing times, improve the provision of information and enable a more integrated approach to multi-problem situations. This latter aspect is necessary because, increasingly, people who commit a punishable offence are affected by multiple problems. The coalition agreement has earmarked a total of 295 million euros for improvements in information provision in the period from 2018 through to 2022. This is the content of a letter sent today to the House of Representatives by Minister Grapperhaus of the Ministry of Justice and Security and Minister Dekker of the Ministry of Legal Protection.

The three priorities for the criminal justice chain derive from the process decided in the Bestuurlijk Ketenberaad (BKB) [Administrative Criminal Justice System Deliberations] by the chain partners – police, Public Prosecution Service and judiciary in dialogue with involved parties such as victims, lawyers, welfare organisations and mayors. Major investments are being made in digitisation and possibilities for improving the sharing of information and knowledge. This is taking place in clearly structured projects, enabling monitoring and also adjustment if necessary.

Provision of information

The ultimate goal is to digitise the procedural documents in the entire criminal justice chain. This will enable more efficient working, processing times can be shortened and the quality of the supplied information will be improved. As of 2021 it should be standard practice that official reports enter the chain digitally and are no longer on paper, so that the criminal justice process is digital right from the start.
 
New multimedia possibilities will also benefit the process of establishing facts. Criminal files can, for instance, be augmented by video and audio recordings. The transparency and quantity of information will be greater if interviews are recorded with the help of video and audio, and this is also available to the defence, than when all information is only on paper. As of 2021 all video and audio material relevant to a criminal case (evidence) must be available to all parties.

In 2018 the foundation will be laid for the application of multimedia within the criminal justice chain. Work will begin with the construction of relevant facilities in one region, thus enabling initial experiences to be tested in practice. Following on from this, creation of a chain-wide victims’ portal will begin in 2019. A central online location will be created where victims can log on at any moment they themselves choose, 24 hours a day, to check information about their situation and progress in their case.

Processing times

Victims, suspects and perpetrators must receive quick and suitable clarity about the use of selected criminal justice interventions, prosecution and the result of the criminal case. Proceedings within the criminal justice chain depend on many factors that relate to the type of case. This year the BKB has chosen to further shorten processing times for 7 case flows: criminal offences, appeals, undermining, sexual offences, serious traffic offences, youth, juvenile crime and implementation of criminal penalties.

Multi-problem situations

People who commit a criminal offence often have a complex set of problems in various areas of their life, such as debt, unemployment and psychiatric problems. These problems can only be dealt with sustainably if parties join forces. The Ministry of Justice and Security is working together with partners from the criminal justice chain, municipal authorities and care organisations to see how collaboration can be improved within existing processes in order to tackle multi-problem situations.

Ministry responsible