THE prime minister has offered his “deepest sympathies” to victims of crime in Essex who are pushing for justice despite lengthy court delays.

Speaking on a visit to the county on Monday, Rishi Sunak said ongoing delays in criminal courts are a knock-on effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Sunak said the government wants to ensure victims of crime and their families “get the justice that they deserve as swiftly as possible”.

Echo: Visit - the prime minister visited a DHL distribution centre in CorringhamVisit - the prime minister visited a DHL distribution centre in Corringham (Image: PA)

“Obviously we have a backlog in the court system as a result of the pandemic and I think people will appreciate that,” he said. “But since then we’ve invested more.

“We have more judges, more sitting days, we’ve extended our Nightingale courts, and have made sure that we are investing a few hundred million pounds in a court modernisation process as well.

“All of that will help address the court backlogs which I know obviously are an issue as a result of Covid but we are making progress on it.”

He extended his “sympathies to all the families” affected by delays in the justice system, adding he wants to “reassure them that I want them to get the justice that they deserve”.