CHESTER’S top judge has said Cheshire Police could save hundreds of man hours by making the case summaries presented to the courts much shorter.

The Honorary Recorder of Chester, Judge Steven Everett, said he was not criticising officers but was keen to educate them that “less is more”.

Speaking in open court during a hearing at Chester Crown Court on Friday (November 29), he stated that too often the documents are unnecessarily detailed and long which wastes both police and court time.

Officers are required to write summaries, also known as an MG5, outlining the details of a specific case.

This is presented to the courts and is said to be particularly important in cases where there is an anticipated guilty plea.

Judge Everett said that in the particular case he was looking at the case summary was 11 pages long when it could easily have been condensed to just one.

He estimated this would have saved the officer at least an hour – time that could be better spent back out “on the beat”.

Chester Crown Court dealt with 1,200 case summaries last year, the judge said, which could equate to the same number of wasted man hours. The magistrates court also dealt with 2-3,000 cases.

“I’m slowly but surely trying to educate police officers that less is more,” the judge said. “I’m not criticising the officers; it’s a training issue.”

He said the process could take “months or years” but he was “keen for it to be done” and conversations were ongoing with the chief constable.

In response, Assistant Chief Constable Matt Burton confirmed they were now reviewing training provision to make sure case summaries were as concise as possible.

He said: “It is vital that case summaries contain all of the key information required by the judiciary, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and those within the wider criminal justice system. This can, on occasions, result in longer case summaries.

“However, we are in the process of reviewing the training provided to our officers to ensure that all case summaries are as concise as possible whilst still meeting the needs of those who require it.

“We are also exploring a number of technological options to help simplify the process as well as reissuing guidance in this area.

“I will be meeting with the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Mersey-Cheshire CPS and Judge Everett in the near future to discuss this in more detail.”