(160)  Crown Office reform

The Lord Advocate announced a wide-ranging modernisation of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service on 4 March 2002.  This follows the Chhokar inquiries in 2000-2001 (see Nos 88, 89, 94, 135).  A new chief executive post will be created, more prosecutors will be recruited, better management and support structures established, and the service reorganised into 12 areas, with Strathclyde police area divided into five of these.  Norman McFadyen, regional procurator fiscal for Lothian and Borders, becomes Crown Agent Designate, while the present Crown Agent, Andrew Normand, will undertake a project on the integration of objectives of the various elements of the criminal justice system.

At the same time the Lord Advocate issued guidelines on racist crime for all chief constables.  These will be implemented from 1 April 2002 and are available at http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk.

On 6 March 2002 the Justice 2 Committee of the Scottish Parliament questioned the Lord Advocate, the Solicitor General for Scotland and Sir Anthony Campbell on the Chhokhar case, the subsequent reports, and the reforms outlined above.  The discussion can be read at the Scottish Parliament website, http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/official_report/cttee/just2-02/j202-0902.htm#Col1080.  The debate concludes at col 1125.