Catch up on all the justice sector headlines you may have missed this month...
Durham Constabulary sees largest rise in crime
Durham Constabulary has seen the largest rise in crime in the country over the past nine months, according to official figures.
The force, which was the only one in the country to be rated outstanding by inspectors, has seen a 40% jump in reported crimes.
Durham’s Police, Crimes and Victims Commissioner Ron Hogg said that the increases are in part due to new crime recording practices, as well as greater confidence in reporting crimes to the police.
Report shows armed forces facing biggest staff shortfall in 10 years
The armed forces is experiencing the biggest staffing shortfall in a decade, according to a National Audit Office report.
The number of full-time military personnel is currently 5.7%, or 8,200 people, short of the required level, with experts suggesting it could take at least five years to close the gap.
In particular, the number of intelligence analysts is around 26% below expected.
Isle of Wight fire service review rejected
Proposed changes to the Isle of Wight’s fire service have been rejected.
The service had planned to cut the number of full-time firefighters from 58 to 50, however, the council’s scrutiny committee and Fire Brigades Union described the proposals as a threat to safety.
Digitising divorce applications ‘could save thousands of hours’
Enabling people to apply for divorce online could save court staff as much as 13,000 hours, it has been predicted.
Adam Lennon, head of modernisation and improvement at HM Courts & Tribunals Service, told the Westminster Legal Policy Forum that court staff spend thousands of hours doing nothing but checking and returning divorce petitions to people.
He also said that the service had adopted an agile approach to digitising the divorce service.
False alarms ‘41% of fire service call outs in Wales’
Firefighters in Wales attended more false alarms than any other type of incident over the past five years.
On average, false alarms cost up to £300 per engine and tie crews up for 23 minutes.
In 2016/17, 41% of 37,217 calls were false alarms. In comparison, 29% were fires and 30% were special incidents.
Armed forces complaints system ‘not effective’
The Ombudsmen for Service Complaints has said that the complaints system for members of the armed forces is not efficient, effective or fair, despite some progress being made.
They made ten further recommendations for improvements to the system, including suggested changes to how compensatory payments are made and updating the Joint Service Publications that guide the complaints process.
Knife crime up in England and Wales
Knife crime in England and Wales rose 22% in 2017, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
While the Crime Survey for England and Wales found that most crimes stayed at a similar level to 2016, firearms offences also increased by 11% and robberies were up 33%.
Commenting on the figures, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the rise in violent incidents was "unacceptably high", and they were "a national problem that required national solutions from the government".