Solicitor General praises "excellent" CPS Mersey-Cheshire for performance

26/11/2013

The Solicitor General has singled out the Crown Prosecution Service in Mersey-Cheshire for praise as it takes second place in the national performance tables.

Oliver Heald (pictured with Chief Crown Prosecutor Claire Lindley) came to CPS Mersey-Cheshire's new base in Walker House in Liverpool city centre to look at the 'excellent' work being done.

Oliver Heald and Claire LindleyThe head of the Area's Magistrates Court unit, Phillippa Kennedy, gave Mr Heald an overview of the progress of digitisation in the service.

The CPS nationally is working to rid the system of paper so that lawyers can process and present cases electronically using laptops and screens in courts to show evidence.

CPS Mersey-Cheshire's Magistrates Court Unit now processes and presents 95% of its cases electronically.

The Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in the Area, Alison Mutch, gave Mr Heald a presentation on the work of the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) unit.

These are staffed by highly committed and trained lawyers and offer a dedicated service to victims. Mersey-Cheshire is the only area in the country to have these units.

The conviction rate in Mersey-Cheshire for cases involving violence against women and girls is 79.1%, which is higher than the national average.

The Solicitor General also spent time at the Specialist Domestic Violence Court at Liverpool Magistrates' Court, which offers victims the support of trained and specialist staff.

The head of Mersey-Cheshire's Complex Casework Unit, Janet Potter, also gave Mr Heald a presentation on the unit's work on organised crime.

Mr Heald said: "I wanted to come to Merseyside and congratulate the CPS team here for the excellent work they've been doing.

"After a difficult inspection a few years ago during a period of big changes, CPS Mersey-Cheshire is currently the second best CPS Area in the whole country in terms of performance and I hope the work they've been doing on digitisation is part of that.

"I particularly want to congratulate them on their work against violence against women and girls and rape.

"There are two specialist teams I heard about during my visit, which are the only ones in the country co-located with the police and are responsible for the high conviction rate here."

Mr Heald also met the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Mersey-Cheshire, Claire Lindley.

She said: "Over the last three years, there has been a lot of change in the CPS, which has been a challenge.

"The continuing commitment and hard work of all the staff has ensured we maintain our strong performance and our commitment to the victims of crime,

"It's also meant that we can continue to forge ahead with our programme to digitilise the way in which we work."