Tech adoption will be ‘positive legacy’ of coronavirus response, says Scottish justice secretary
Humza Yousaf praises response of the Scottish justice system
The use of digital technology throughout Scotland’s criminal justice system will represent a “very positive legacy” of the response to the coronavirus crisis, believes the Scottish Government’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf.
In an interview with PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, Yousaf praised the way in which courts across the country had responded to the difficulties of recent months.
“These are challenges being faced by jurisdictions around the world and there are no easy answers,” he said. “The Scottish justice system should be given great credit for the swift, collaborative and innovative way they responded to the pandemic, which I hope will result in lasting improvements for years to come.”
The cabinet member added that the rollout of video and connectivity technology that has allowed hearings to continue could prove to be beneficial long beyond the pandemic.
- Courts offer pre-recorded video cross-examination for vulnerable witnesses
- More than 100 courts open for video and telephone hearings
- Courts to begin using £280m digital Common Platform system in September
“The rapid adoption of new digital approaches has been the major significant feature I think will be a very positive legacy of the past few months,” Yousaf said. “For example, remote hearings have begun in several courts and Scotland was recently one of the first jurisdictions in the world to run summary trials conducted entirely in virtual courts.”
Scottish police have also benefited from the use of new technologies, according to the justice secretary.
“A few weeks ago, Police Scotland revealed that hundreds of thousands of hours of officer time had been freed up by the rollout of new mobile technology, which the Scottish Government was able to support with additional capital funding,” Yousaf said. “Our investment in this innovative mobile technology has had a transformative effect on policing across the country, allowing officers to increase their focus on engaging with the public and keeping our communities safe.”
Click here to read the full interview, including Yousaf’s thoughts on how prisoner numbers can be reduced, and the Scottish Parliament’s “collective failure” on improving diversity.
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