Fears for future of magistrates court

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THE chair of Rotherham Bench of Magistrates has expressed concern about the future of the magistrates court in the town following courts in other areas being closed.

Glenna Briggs made a plea for the town’s magistrates court to be retained at a Rotherham Council area assembly in Catcliffe.

She said there was a national trend for courts to be less busy which had led to some being closed.

Mrs Briggs added that she feared Rotherham Magistrates Court could also be under threat in the next round of court closures and cases transferred to Sheffield courts.

Mrs Briggs said: “We want to raise awareness of this situation and our concerns because if justice is dispensed at a distance it will not be good for Rotherham.”

She said the situation had arisen nationally because of a reduction in crime, courts were now much more efficient and the increase in out-of-court dispersals such as fixed penalties and cautions.

Coun John Swift, chairman of the Rother Valley West area assembly said they would ask the borough council to do everything possible to retain the magistrates court in Rotherham.

He added: “Rotherham has a total population of 250,000 and it is vitally important that we retain this court in the town.”