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30 January 2015, 14:31
Victims of crime, who previously felt unable to attend a court hearing to give evidence, can now do so via a new video link in Margate.
From a special room at the police station in Fort Hill, victims who feel too distressed or frightened to speak in open court can now link into magistrate and crown courts to give evidence.
The Victim Suite was officially opened on Friday 30 January by Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes and Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Jo Shiner.
It is the fourth Live Link suite to be opened in Kent which is considered a national leader in the use of digital and video technology in the criminal justice system.
Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner said: 'I am so pleased to be opening another Live Link suite. It is vital that we provide areas away from court buildings for those victims who are vulnerable due to age or, quite simply, because they fear meeting or even being in the same building as the defendant.
‘Many victims have told us quite bluntly that they would have refused to give evidence without this facility so the results are easy to work out - more offenders brought to justice and fewer cases being dismissed or adjourned due to victims not attending court or even withdrawing their evidence at the last minute.
‘Essentially, this is yet another example of putting victims and witnesses at the heart of everything we do.’
Assistant Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: 'We are committed to making the best use of technology for Kent Police and across the wider criminal justice system to deliver efficient and effective policing.
‘Live Link capability brings a number of benefits to officers who can continue to work on a number of administrative or investigative tasks whilst waiting to be called to give evidence.
'The Kent Criminal Justice Board have also used video technology to deliver the most comprehensive virtual court network in the country, which now links all seven custody suites to a central remand court , reducing the cost and risk of transporting prisoners and allows the court service to achieve more efficient use of court time and space.