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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

Prosecuting Violent Crime

Violent crime covers a wide range of offences including:

These crimes are extremely rare, they account for only about 1% of all crime. Yet they cause significant harm, both to individual victims and their families in terms of physical injury and psychological trauma, and to society more widely in terms of fear. We are committed to prosecuting violent crimes efficiently and effectively.

South Wales praised over domestic violence case handling

28/06/2004

South Wales Area's handling of domestic violence cases has been praised by CPS inspectors.

They flagged up six examples of good practice, including the provision of CPS specialists at domestic violence "surgeries" for police, the fast-tracking of cases in the courts and the listing of trials in the fixtures.

Others were providing agents and prosecuting counsel with training in CPS domestic violence policy and practice, giving cases priority when several trials were listed for the same courtroom, and the Area's participation in the Cardiff Women's Safety Unit, which offers support to victims.

The six aspects had already been cited as best practice in a report of a joint thematic inspection into the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence cases.

CPS inspectors also identified a further example of best practice - the Area's deployment of a case progression officer at Cardiff Magistrates' Court to deal with witness issues.

The initiative had already prevented a number of trials becoming ineffective, they said.

In their examination of CPS South Wales, the Inspectorate found that casework outcomes were satisfactory and, in many aspects, better than national averages.

"This is particularly creditable in the context of both magistrates' courts and Crown Court granting the prosecution less time for case preparation than is the norm in many parts of the country," they noted.

Levels of ineffective trials in the magistrates' courts and particularly in the Crown Court were lower than the national average.

However, inspectors were concerned that a number of cases intended for committal were discharged because the prosecution was not ready to proceed. The Area is to work with the police to reduce this number and ensure that discharged committals are reinstated where appropriate.

Staff provided a good service to victims and witnesses at most courts. In its attempts to improve counsel's engagement with victims and witnesses the Area had introduced an innovative survey aimed at witnesses who had attended Crown Court.

"The Area gives a high degree of effort to engaging with the local community, including minority ethnic groups and organisations. It is active in promoting equality and diversity amongst its staff," said the inspection report.

CPS South Wales worked "very positively" within the Local Criminal Justice Board on narrowing the justice gap and raising public confidence.

At the time of their visit inspectors found co-location had progressed well and had proved successful, and the introduction of the charging initiative had been welcomed by local police.

The Inspectorate recommended that the Area improve the thoroughness of initial reviews to ensure weaknesses in a case were identified and addressed promptly.

Other recommendations were that training and monitoring of disclosure through the revised joint operational instructions take place, and that the ABM and CCP ensure specified proceedings were not included in the Area's caseload figures.

Commenting on the report Catrin Evans, acting CCP for South Wales, said the Area had launched a comprehensive training programme, run jointly with the South Wales Police, to improve the quality of casework.

"The Inspectorate has recognised that the Area is committed to providing an improved public service by being pro-active within the diverse community we serve. I am grateful to all managers and staff for their clear commitment and dedication in continuing to improve performance," she added.