Govt tries to encourage crime witnesses

Govt tries to encourage crime witnesses

By staff

The government has set up an online information center to increase eye-witness participation in court cases, following worrying figures from a survey.

According to a new Directgov report, over a third of Britain’s population has witnessed a crime taking place. But 36 per cent of those who did, did not volunteer to be a witness in a court case.

It revealed that thousands of prosecutions could be affected by the poor participation of witnesses who hold important evidence in the cases.

Eye witnesses, the survey says, are put off from attending proceedings because they lack a basic understanding and knowledge of what is expected from them.

Of those interviewed, many said they were scared to act as a witness because they didn’t know enough about courts and the way they function.

Some said they were discouraged by the intimidating idea of standing up in the courtroom, while others were worried about receiving threats from third parties.

Over a quarter (27 per cent) of Brits would not know where to find information about acting as a witness to crimes in court.

Other people surveyed said they would rely only on the advice they could get from their family and friends.

Out of all the witnesses in the UK, 36 per cent saw an assault taking place, 23 per cent saw a motoring offence, and 16 per cent witnessed a burglary.

As a response to the survey, the government set up an online information page and a video to inform people on being a witness and guide them through the process.