§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Solicitor-General if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Ceredigion constituency, the effects on Ceredigion of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
§ The Solicitor-General
In 1999, in line with national policy, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in liaison with the Dyfed Powys police and the magistrates court, introduced procedures based upon the Narey proposals. All defendants charged with a criminal offence where a guilty plea is anticipated now make their first appearance before the Cardigan or Aberystwyth magistrates within three working days of charge, or eight days if charged after the cut-off point for that court for that week.
In the last eight months, over half of defendants have had their cases finalised at the first court hearing. Since October 2000, the prosecution of Persistent Youth Offenders has been subject to a fast-track procedure. Fourteen defendants in Ceredigion have been dealt with to date under this procedure. These cases have been finalised in an average of 56 days over the five months to February 2001.
In January 2001, the provisions of section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 came into force. Seven defendants within Ceredigion charged with indictable-only offences have been sent directly to the Crown court in Swansea. All these changes illustrate the Government's successful policy of speeding up the criminal justice system.
In May 2001, CPS Dyfed Powys will be altering its structure in line with the proposals of the Glidewell review. This will enable the CPS to place greater emphasis on the more serious crime cases in the Crown courts in Swansea, Carmarthen, and Haverfordwest.434W
Since May 1997, the CPS has successfully prosecuted a number of significant cases arising in the Ceredigion area. In 1998–99 police officers targeted heroin dealers in Aberystwyth in an operation that led to the arrest and successful prosecution of 12 heroin dealers in Aberystwyth. This had an important deterrent effect on further drug offences in Aberystwyth.
In 2000, the Dyfed Powys CPS also dealt with a murder case involving an elderly defendant who had allegedly murdered his wife. The defendant claimed that he had killed his wife as part of a suicide pact. After an extensive inquiry the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter accepting the defendant's version of events. The case was dealt with by leading counsel and a higher court advocate from the Dyfed Powys CPS office.
Actions and policies of the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the Serious Fraud Office do not directly affect the Ceredigion constituency.
§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Solicitor-General (1) if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Caernarfon constituency, the effects on Caernarfon of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997; 
(2) if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Meirionnydd Nant Conwy constituency, the effects on Meirionnydd Nant Conwy of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997; 
(3) if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Ynys MÔn constituency, the effects on Ynys MÔn of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
§ The Solicitor-General
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in liaison with the police and the magistrates courts, introduced procedures based upon the Narey proposals for he Central and Western Divisions of the North Wales Police Area, which includes these constituencies. All defendants now charged with a criminal offence make their first appearance before a magistrates court within one week and, in some cases, within 96 hours of being charged. Current figures indicate that around 40 per cent. of defendants now have their cases finalised at that first hearing. On 1 July 2000, the CPS North Wales Area office, which has responsibility for prosecutions in these three constituencies, altered its structures in line with the proposals contained in the Glidewell report. This enabled the CPS to place greater emphasis on more serious crime. More recently, as a further development of a proposal in the Glidewell report, the CPS have established a co-located Criminal Justice Unit within the Divisional Police Headquarters at Caernarfon. Closer links between the CPS and police in this area will further enhance the progress of cases into and through the magistrates courts.
CPS North Wales is also piloting Statutory Time Limits in youth cases and has worked together with the other agencies locally to speed up youth justice, particularly cases involving persistent young offenders. This has resulted in cases being disposed of within 71 days in two quarters of the last year. Since May 1997, the Crown Prosecution Service has reduced the time taken to finalise prosecutions arising in the Caernarfon, Meirionnydd Nant Conwy and Ynys MÔn areas, especially cases involving 435W youth offenders. All these changes illustrate the Government's successful policy in speeding up the criminal justice system.
CPS North Wales are also piloting the Victim Notification arrangements. They have established a Victim Information Bureau at their headquarters at Wrexham, which provides detailed explanations to victims when cases are dropped or charges substantially amended. Meetings are also offered to victims in certain cases.
Action and policies of the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the Serious Fraud Office do not directly affect the Caernarfon, Meirionnydd Nant Conwy and Ynys MÔn constituencies.