‘Full explanation’ demanded after Stratford court delays

Cases at Stratford Magistrates’ Court were delayed earlier this week after some court papers failed to turn up on time.

City Sprint, the private courier company, was recently awarded the sub-contract by the Ministry of Justice to take vital prosecution files from police stations to courts.

The hold up took place on the day the contract came into effect, on June 11. It meant some cases were not heard until late in the afternoon.

Thames Magistrates Court in Bow, which also deals with cases from Newham, was also affected, along with Bexley, Bromley and Isleworth.

A spokesman for City Sprint said they were working to resolve the problems faced by their staff.

“It is a complicated contract driving to multiple locations across London,” he said.

The service was previously carried out by the publicly-funded Government Car and Despatch Agency.

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CPS London said it was confident the delays would not occur again but has urged City Sprint to “provide a full explanation as soon as possible.”

A spokesman said: “The CPS has been working very hard with couriers City Sprint to put right some issues which have emerged at the start of a new courier service.

“(We have) now resolved our administrative issues, and are asking them to rectify any outstanding problems it is encountering as a matter of urgency.”

Unions said the problems were an inevitable result of the privatisation of public services.

A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), added: “This is just the latest example of the botched outsourcing of our justice system, following on from the privatisation of court interpreters, which has also led to delays and postponements.

“It doesn’t bode well for other areas where privatisation is currently proposed.”