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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Kent makes “significant progress” – Inspectorate"

08/04/2004

CPS Kent has made “significant progress” since its last inspection three years ago, partially or wholly meeting 27 of the 28 Inspectorate recommendations.

Its achievements included the development of an effective management structure, the implementation of Glidewell reforms and the initiation of a successful community engagement programme.

Senior management now enjoyed a high profile with other local criminal justice agencies and its CCP Elizabeth Howe chaired the Kent Local Criminal Justice Board, according to a report.

Inspectors who revisited the area last November and December said they found room for some improvement in the quality of decision-making.

Although decisions to discontinue cases were generally sound, timeliness was poor, contributing to the cracked trial rate in the county’s magistrates’ courts.

Sensitive cases involving road traffic deaths and racist incidents were handled well, and the Area had worked jointly with the police to improve the quality of evidence gathering.

In their examination, inspectors found that overall the quality of advocacy was good. APs were deployed effectively and the Area fell just short of its demanding target of court sessions for HCAs.

Witness care was good in both the magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court and the Area enjoyed a good working relationship with the Witness Service.

The magistrates’ courts ineffective trial rate was better than the national average although late discontinuances were contributing to cracked trials. At the Crown Court, the effective trial rate was better than the national average.

Inspectors praised the Area for improving its public profile, particularly with the minority ethnic community, since the last review.

“Overall, the Area was now very well respected and was viewed as an open and receptive organisation,” said the report.

Inspectors found two aspects of good practice, which they said might warrant adoption by The CPS nationally.

These were the use of a bail stamp on Crown Court files to signify that a defendant was not in custody, and the provision of instructions to counsel when they were prosecuting complex cases in the magistrates’ courts.

The Inspectorate made six recommendations, including the proposal that the Area no longer included specified offences in its PIs.
Local unit managers, in tandem with their counterparts in other agencies, should develop an effective joint performance management regime for the criminal justice process, it said.

In response, CCP Elizabeth Howe said: “Whilst we recognise that there is need for improvement in some elements of our casework, plans to address these are already in place and we are confident that these will soon yield results.

“I believe that CPS Kent is well placed to take forward the challenging programme of reform being introduced into The CPS and more widely within the criminal justice system.”