Westminster Magistrates Court in London, England. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
ASIANS and other members from Britain’s ethnic communities are being urged to apply to become magistrates as a recruitment drive gets underway to deliver more diversity, according to a media report.
A new £1 million initiative seeks to find more than 4,000 new justices of the peace to help tackle the vast backlog in criminal cases, The Telegraph reported last month.
Officials want a wider range of applicants as critics claim magistrates are not representative of wider society, the report added.
Statistics show that one per cent of magistrates is aged below 30, while 49 per cent are older than 60.
Anyone who can dedicate a minimum of 13 days service a year and can display reason and sound judgment are eligible to apply.
Recently, the Ministry of Justice revealed plans to double a magistrate’s sentencing powers, from six months to up to 12 months.
“Magistrates are the unsung heroes of the justice system and we want people from every part of society represented in their ranks,” justice secretary Dominic Raab was quoted as saying by the paper.
“If you care about your community and want to give back, then I would strongly encourage you to apply to become a magistrate. There are few other opportunities that can make such a difference in people’s lives.
“Alongside our plans to double their sentencing powers from six months to a year, this recruitment drive will ensure magistrates can play an even greater role in restoring the swift justice the public deserve.”