A website set up to connect firms doing criminal defence work with accredited police station representatives has reported a threefold increase in lawyers using the site, as solicitors face tightening profit margins. Policestationreps.com provides solicitors with the contact details of local police station representatives so that they can contact them directly, rather than having to use an agency. Set up two years ago by police station agent Matthew Fresco, the website charges no fee to solicitors or police station representatives who register. Solicitors can enter the name of a police station, and the site lists available representatives in an order reflecting their proximity to the station. Fresco said the tight margins on which criminal firms operate, and new Legal Services Commission contracts obliging firms to cover 80% of the police station work themselves, had led to more use of independent police station representatives. There were 100 reps registered on the site in January 2010, which has now grown to 400. The number of solicitors using the site each day has tripled to 300 since January.
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