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Green light for traffic courts

All areas should have a dedicated traffic court by next summer, Justice Minister Damian Green has announced.

The move will mean low-level traffic offences – such as speeding, traffic light and document offences – can all be dealt with at one local magistrates’ court, reducing delays and allowing other magistrates’ courts to focus on more serious offences.

Traffic courts have already been established in 29 areas nationally and the government plans to have them in place in all 42 police force areas within the next six months, Mr Green said on 13 December.

He said: “Low-level traffic offences such as speeding can take up to six months from offence to completion, which is a huge drain on the smooth running of the criminal justice system, and takes focus away from more serious offences. “We want all areas to have a dedicated traffic court, and we are on track to reach this target. Traffic courts from West Yorkshire to Sussex have shown how effective and efficient this process can be.”

In West Yorkshire, Bradford has the highest number of uninsured cars in any town in the UK, with local courts dealing with around 1,400 such offences each year.

Since the introduction of traffic courts, together with the use of a civilian document checker, these cases now take an average of four months, rather than six or seven months, and a higher proportion of cases are resolved at first hearing, meaning that courts have more time to deal with more serious cases.