HAMPSHIRE Constabulary has become the first force in England to use a new management system that aims to streamline the justice system.

People who commit motoring offences will be able to enter a guilty plea digitally, enabling their case to be resolved quickly and efficiently without going to court.

Emily Brown, summary justice unit team leader at Hampshire police, welcomed the change.

She said: "I’m delighted we’ve been chosen as the first force to deal with traffic offences using this new system.

"It means that when people are charged with traffic offences, like speeding or driving without insurance, they will be dealt with efficiently and fairly with minimal delays.

"It means our local courts can concentrate on those cases that really need to be there."

It follows the 2015 introduction of Single Justice Service, which allows a magistrate to deal with adult, summary-only and non-imprisonable offences when guilty pleas are entered or a defendant fails to respond to a charge.

These account for about 850,000 of criminal cases each year, almost all of which result in a financial penalty.

The magistrate, supported by a legal adviser, adjudicates on cases in the absence of the prosecutor and the defendant. It allows those who plead guilty to resolve their case without going to court.

In future traffic offences committed in Hampshire will be uploaded directly on to the case management system.

As soon as a defendant enters a guilty plea online, the system will prioritise their case. Postal pleas will still be an option - and all defendants can request an open hearing in court.

The scheme was welcomed by Hampshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Donna Jones.

She said: “I am pleased that Hampshire Constabulary has been selected as the first police force in the country to implement the procedure.

"Anything that speeds up the process and makes its quicker and easier for people to plead guilty and the case to be concluded sooner, is welcome.

"The number of traffic cases dealt with by courts across the whole country, where individuals ‘plead guilty by post’ is enormous.

"This will free up valuable court time when we have significant national backlogs in the courts system due to Covid delays.”