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Last Updated: Monday, 29 October 2007, 18:51 GMT
Centre gives out 'speedy justice'
Judge David Fletcher
Judge David Fletcher presides over the court
A government project designed to combat anti-social behaviour is "exceeding targets" a new report says.

The North Liverpool Community Justice Centre (NLCJC) has been dealing with cases almost six times faster than the national average.

But the survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, also said that the public had a "drop in confidence" in the system since the court began.

Eleven community justice projects are being developed across the UK.

The 4.2m centre was opened two years ago, based on a similar model in New York.

Key features of the community justice centre include a hands-on approach by judges who see the same offenders regularly to check on compliance with punishments or orders.

A survey found 64% of local people said they lacked confidence in the criminal justice system since the court began, compared to 62% before it started.

Re-offender rates

But the report said the way the centre was reported in the media could be to blame for this shift in perception and the centre may have actually prevented a sharper decline in the north Liverpool area.

It is thought that re-offending rates of criminals through its court will be examined in 2008, but that indications from staff and individual case studies showed some crime reduction.

The time taken from first hearing to sentence is 26 days on average at the NLCJC compared with a national average of 147 days, and a national target of 112 days.

Eleven other community justice projects are currently being developed for Bradford, Devon and Cornwall, Hull, Leicestershire, Merthyr Tydfil, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Nottingham and in three areas of London.

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