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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

CPS improved performance


The Crown Prosecution Service has welcomed the report by HM CPS Inspectorate which shows that it has strengthened and improved performance since it was last assessed in 2005.

"We are pleased the report shows that the number of Areas with an excellent rating has increased and nearly all of the 42 Areas are up to standard.

"The report highlights the positive progress that has been made, particularly in relation to increased conviction rates in Magistrates' and Crown Courts,where we are now prosecuting more of of our own cases and the stronger focus we are now placing on community engagement work.

"The assessments are a useful benchmark for the Areas in making sure they are delivering justice to their local communities. We look closely at the findings and each Area is fully committed to raising its performance to be as effective as possible.

"The CPS has built, and will continue to build, on the positive results and to raise the standard of all the Areas to good or excellent."

The Inspectorate's report of Overall Performance Assessments of all 42 CPS Areas looks at 13 key aspects of work, including pre-charge decision making, ensuring successful outcomes in magistrates' and Crown Courts, service to victims and witnesses, sensitive cases and hate crime, and securing community confidence. Each aspect is assessed as either excellent, good, fair or poor.

  1. The five Areas rated as excellent are: Humberside, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, South Yorkshire, Warwickshire. 15 Areas were assessed as good, 20 as fair and 2 as poor.
  2. The four Areas that were rated poor in 2005 have raised their performance, three to fair and one to good.
  3. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8180.
  4. The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution;
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute;
    • Preparing cases for court;
    • Presentation of cases at court.

    The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007. Further information can be found on this website.