Many citizens living in locations that will impacted by the Olympic Games are less than pleased over the hassle surrounding the summer event. One of the biggest fears is over a potential increase in crime.
There has been speculation over how the court system will cope. Plans for how the courts will deal with offences committed during the Olympics have now been outlined and there will be an ‘Olympics fast-track system’ for crimes correlated to the Games.
The plans have been worked out by the Crown Prosecution Service, police and courts. The strategy is largely based on how the justice system dealt with offences committed during last summer’s riots. Similarly to those events, courts’ opening hours will extend beyond their regular ones and prosecutors will be available on a 24-hour basis.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, it is important that courts operate for longer hours as some of those involved in illegal activities will be foreigners and may only be in the country for a few days.
Will the plans work?
Although the ambition of the three bodies is that offences will be dealt with swiftly, there are nevertheless worries over the capacity of some London courts. There have previously been concerns that some London courts will not be able to operate to their full capacity during the Olympics, because court staff will struggle to travel to and from work due to the masses of people expected to move around in the capital on a daily basis.
After the 2011 summer riots, many praised the courts and associated staff for their ability to quickly deal with offenders. Undoubtedly, the court system is looking to perform its best under the Games and aims to handle all offences quickly.
However, the plans appear to primarily relate to rather minor offences, such as pick-pocketing and the illegal reselling of tickets. As such, it remains to be seen how prepared the justice system is to handle offences committed outside the sphere of the Olympics or any other serious crime. Will the rapid handling of cases end up in justice not being properly served and for crimes unrelated to the Olympics being unjustifiably postponed?