Suffolk's criminals are waiting almost nine months before they are brought to justice – with the county's police and crime commissioner saying court closures have had a significant impact.

The latest data for Norfolk and Suffolk shows an average wait time of 294 days from charge to case completion at crown court, up 74 days from the previous quarter.

Tim Passmore believes Suffolk only having one magistrates' court and one crown court means victims are being "failed" as they face lengthy waits before seeing convictions in their cases.

He said: "I'm there to look after victims and they are being failed in too many cases by the whole system.

East Anglian Daily Times: Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime comissionerTim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime comissioner (Image: Archant)

"Where was the forward planning here? It needs a thorough, root and branch review."

In view of the delays, Mr Passmore pointed to the decision taken in 2016 to close the magistrates' courts in Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft, consolidating all cases to Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich.

"It was a bonkers decision. Utterly ridiculous," he added.

"It's not just the person in the dock that this affects, it's also about the witnesses and their access to a nearby court.

"These systems aren't cheap, but the British legal system needs to be upheld.

"Neglect it at your peril."

One example of the serious backlogs experienced is Robert Wilson, 60, of Shetland, who is accused of committing a string of child sex offences in Suffolk four decades ago.

Wilson pleaded not guilty to six offences of indecency with a girl and six offences of indecent assault at Ipswich Crown Court and will have to wait until 2025 for his trial to take place.

With an uptick in the number of police officers being recruited across Suffolk, Mr Passmore worries for the extra strain this will place on both Suffolk Magistrates' Court and Ipswich Crown Court.

"It'll be a couple of years before we see the benefit of those extra officers," he said.

"Hopefully they'll contribute to detecting more crimes, but that's only going to increase the load on the courts."

As well as recruiting more support staff, Mr Passmore has suggested extending magistrates' sentencing powers and the introduction of temporary Nightingale courts.