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Serco Prisoner Escort Services Courts and Sites

We have extensive experience in the management of this complex prisoner care, planning and logistics service and understand the varied requirements of the stakeholder community.  Serco puts welfare and security at the heart of its escorting services and our services are carried out with compassion and care by highly trained and security cleared staff.

Serco provides safe and secure Prisoner Escort Services on behalf of justice departments moving people quickly and efficiently between prisons or police stations and court appearances. We also provide Court Services to many of the most high profile courts in England including the Royal Courts of Justice, the Central Criminal Court and Westminster Magistrates' Courts.

Courts and sites

Crown Court

The Crown Court carries out four principal types of activity: appeals from decisions of magistrates; sentencing of defendants committed from magistrates’ courts, jury trials, and the sentencing of those who are convicted in the Crown Court, either after trial or on pleading guilty.

A Crown Court deals with serious criminal cases, for example:

  • murder
  • rape
  • robbery

A Crown Court:

  • normally has a jury - which decides if you’re guilty or not
  • has a judge - who decides what sentence you get

Magistrates Court

A magistrates' court is a lower court which holds trials for summary offences and preliminary hearings for more serious ones.

Almost all criminal proceedings start at a magistrates' court. 

Summary offences are smaller crimes (such as public order offences or most driving matters) that can be punished under the magistrates' courts limited sentencing powers – community sentences, fines, short custodial sentences. Indictable offences, on the other hand, are serious crimes (e.g. rape, murder); if it is found at the initial hearing of the magistrates' court that there is a case to answer, they are committed to the Crown Court, which has a much wider range of sentencing power. 

Either-way offences (such as theft) will ultimately fall into one of the previous categories depending on how serious the particular crime in question is (a minor theft will be dealt with in a magistrates' court; a serious theft will be dealt with in a Crown Court), although a defendant also has the right in such cases to elect for trial by jury in the Crown Court.

Being kept in custody or granted bail

In some cases the magistrates’ court will decide if you should be kept in custody until your next court hearing, or released on bail.

This may happen if:

  • another court hearing is needed
  • the court needs more information before passing sentence
  • your case is passed to the Crown Court for trial or sentencing

The court can give punishments including:

  • up to 6 months in prison (or up to 12 months in total for more than one offence)
  • a fine
  • a community sentence, like doing unpaid work in the community
  • a ban, for example from driving or keeping an animal

Courts can also give a combination of punishments - for example a fine and unpaid work in the community.