The Toughest Hurdles Facing the Justice Sector Today

Evelyn Woodland
Oct 24, 2023

Ahead of the Modernising Criminal Justice Conference on 22nd June, we are speaking with our expert speakers to find out their thoughts on the current issues that are affecting the sector.

In this blog, we asked our speakers, "What are the biggest challenges that you face right now in the justice sector?"

Dr Sarah Lewis

 Dr Sarah Lewis, Director, Penal Reform Solutions

I have the privilege of visiting and working in a variety of areas across the Criminal Justice System and witness similar patterns emerging that bring increasing concern. I speak to staff about how relentless and sometimes hopeless they feel, as they recover from the COVID era and find themselves working harder to rebuild relationships, cope with backlogs and have the energy to present as motivated and person-centred in their practice. It is clear that staff care and want to help those they work alongside and yet, time is becoming increasingly swamped by bureaucracy and increased workload and pressure, having a detrimental impact on staff wellbeing.

I believe the biggest challenge for us as a sector is looking after our people. It starts with our leaders and our staff and extends to those that we serve. Meaningful relationships have always been central to our work and yet, the ability to develop these is becoming increasingly challenging. I believe this leads to retention challenges, misconduct, staff stress and ultimately, poorer outcomes for all.


G22MJIT - ExProm Icons

 Mark Greenhalgh, Detective Chief Superintendent, Head of Business Change, Digital   Forensics Programme Police Digital Service /National Police Chiefs Council

Mobile phones and devices are ubiquitous worldwide.  In 2021, including both smart and feature phones, the current number of mobile phone users is 4.88 billion, which makes 62% of people in the world a mobile  phone owner. In almost half of the countries for which data is available, more than 90% of the population own a mobile phone. For another 10 countries, that figure lay between 80 and 90%.

In only 3 countries was the share below one-half of the population, the lowest at 45%. Over 90% of all Police investigations have a digital element. When this demand is combined with other demand within the justice sector ( including hidden demand such as safeguarding etc) and then overlaid with an inexperienced workforce, the results are often significant. For example, it can lead to poor investigations often played out in Public thereby further eroding trust and confidence in the Police and Criminal Justice Partners or more individually can lead to burnout amongst Police officers who then leave Policing.