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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

Support for Victims and Witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but, with your help, we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support you and treat you with dignity.

The aim of witness care units is to provide a single point of contact for Victims and Witnesses, minimising the stress of attending court and keeping  victims and witnesses up to date with any news in a way that is convenient to them.

Witnesses are essential to successful prosecutions and we are committed to making the process as straightforward as we can.

Read the fact sheet about witness care units

Find out more about being a witness

Inspectorate Praises CPS Leicestershire

23/03/2004

The Crown Prosecution Service in Leicestershire provides a good service to victims and witnesses, according to a government report.

The report, issued by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), also highlights the quality of casework and decision-making by Leicestershire’s prosecutors – as well as local work with domestic violence cases.

“I welcome the positive findings of this report”, said the county’s Chief Crown Prosecutor Martin Howard. “It quite rightly recognises the good work being done in Leicestershire by both our managers and staff.

“I am particularly pleased that the Inspectors have highlighted our service to victims and witnesses, as well as our commitment to the local community. Not only are we bringing more persistent young offenders to justice within the targeted timeframe, but we are also working pro-actively to tackle issues such as Domestic Violence.”

Mr Howard continued: “The report also recognises that there are areas for improvement, in order to ensure that we are at our most effective in bringing the community’s fight against crime to the courts.

“In particular, we must work closely with the police to monitor the quality of our casework. Since the inspection, we have begun a new initiative in which prosecutors and investigators work together from the point of Charge, to build stronger cases. This is already contributing to more effective hearings and speedier justice.”

Strengths highlighted within the report include:

  • The handling of Persistent Young Offenders, with CPS Leicestershire bringing more youths to justice within the targeted timeframe (The average number of days between arrest and sentence is 58 days – well below the national target of 71)
  • Victims and Witnesses receive a good level of support from CPS staff – with caseworkers in the Crown Court meeting with victims and witnesses to explain the court process, and decisions that are taken.
  • Handling of Complaints – CPS Leicestershire responds to 96.9% of complaints within 10 days, compared to the national average of 85.4%.
  • Domestic Violence – successful community work has been done in the county in relation to domestic violence, and The CPS has developed strong links with voluntary groups such as Leicestershire Domestic Violence Forum
  • Role within the Community – The CPS in Leicestershire employs almost 25% of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds* and has done good work in establishing links with the ethnic minority community

*CPS Leicestershire currently employs 24.7% of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds – which exceeds the 16% ethnic minority make up of the local working population.

Recommendations within the report include:

  • The Area should regularly evaluate the quality of casework across all units
  • The Area should work with the police to introduce a joint monitoring system for management of police file quality and timeliness
  • The Area should train all lawyers and caseworkers in the use of unused material
  1. The inspection team visited CPS Leicestershire between the 24th and 28th of November 2003.
  2. For further information on the HMCPSI report call 01904 545488.
  3. Media enquiries to CPS Leicestershire on 0116 248 6604. A JPEG photograph of Martin Howard is available on request.