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Police Commissioner Appoints Chair of Panel to Investigate Fines & Cautions

Julia Mulligan

5:26pm 2nd June 2014

The selection panel who interviewed potential Chairs of the new Independent Chair of the Out of Court Disposal Scrutiny Panel, can today announce the appointment of Harrogate dispute resolution solicitor, Jonathan Mortimer, as the new Independent Chair.

The Panel is being set up in response to public concerns about the use of Out of Court Disposals in North Yorkshire such as penalty notices and cautions. The new panel will ensure these means of serving justice are appropriate to the case, are effective and in line with the wishes of victims as appropriate.

The Chair of the Panel will be independent of North Yorkshire Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner and criminal justice agencies such as the Crown Prosecution Service and the HM Courts & Tribunals Service.  The Chair will also lead the Panel, so an individual with significant legal experience has been appointed.

The post was advertised via press releases, posted on websites, and promoted with criminal justice partners.  Five applications were received, and three attended an interview on 15thMay.   To ensure the independence of the appointment, the selection panel comprised Gerry Wareham, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside and Lesley Ingleson, Head of North Yorkshire Youth Justice Service, as well as Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire. In addition, Mr Mortimer has signed a 'Declaration of Interests' and is subject to North Yorkshire Police's volunteer vetting process.

Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said, “The public and magistrates have raised concerns with me for some time about the use of Out of Court Disposals, and this is an important step to ensuring they are used appropriately and scrutinised independently.

We need to be certain that victims of crime are at the heart of these decisions, as well as ensuring offenders are getting suitable punishments for their crimes.

I am delighted we have someone of Jonathan’s experience Chairing the Panel, and thank him for taking on the role.”

Jonathan Mortimer, Head of Dispute Resolution Unit and partner at Raworths Solicitors in Harrogate, said,

“I want a procedure for Out of Court Disposals in North Yorkshire which ensures that the response of the Justice System is proportionate to the crime committed, that consistent decisions are made and that those choices are defensible.

It is fundamental that decisions in respect of offenders should adequately take into account the history of the individual and attempt to reduce the risk of further offending.

It is also crucial that the victims of crime should feel that the outcome is right and that they have confidence in the considerable responsibility given to Police Officers to ensure that the public are adequately protected.

I hope that with my legal background I can bring something to this new role”.

Lesley Ingleson, Head of North Yorkshire Youth Justice Service said, “The new Scrutiny Panel is a welcome step forward for the governance of this part of the criminal justice system.  Having been through a rigorous selection process, I am confident that Jonathan will do a professional job as Independent Chair, and look forward to working with him.”

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