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Prosecuting Terrorism

Terrorism, race hate, crimes against humanity, war crimes, violent extremism, hijacking and espionage cases are tackled by a specialist team of Crown Prosecutors. The Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS includes highly experienced prosecutors, advocates and caseworkers who work closely with the police to bring offenders to justice.

Find out more about how we prosecute cases of terrorism.

CPS Counter Terrorism Division praised after inspection finds work is of high standard

16/04/2009

The Crown Prosecution Service's Counter Terrorism Division has been praised for its exceptionally high standards in the way it handles some of the country's most difficult cases, after a formal inspection of its work.

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, in a report published today, said the quality of decision making is very good and that cases are prepared and managed to a high standard.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, QC said: "The Inspectorate has acknowledged that this is one of the most positive reports it has produced and I believe the praise is well deserved.

"One important area in terrorism cases is how long suspects can be held without charge, which is much longer than in the usual criminal cases. I am pleased the Inspectorate has found that the Division treats this very carefully; that applications are only made if properly justified, and the pre-charge detention period is properly monitored and reviewed.

"The Counter Terrorism Division's work is of a specialist nature but there are examples of good practice which other parts of the CPS, such as the complex casework units around the country, can follow."

The report praised in particular:

  • Lawyers being involved and providing advice at an early stage in cases;
  • Communications with victims and witnesses;
  • Effective leadership which is highly regarded both inside the CPS and by outside agencies at national and international level.

The Head of the Counter Terrorism Division, Sue Hemming, said: "I am particularly pleased that the report highlighted the professional approach of staff in the Division and the high regard in which they are held inside and outside the CPS and around the world.

"It recognised that they are dedicated and professional, often working long hours on complex and sensitive cases which can be very demanding.This report is a fitting tribute to all their hard work.

"We welcome the recommendations the inspectorate has made.  It has identified one aspect of improvement, that approval of charging decisions should be recorded with the case papers.  We are already addressing this, to improve an already impressive performance."

As well as dealing with all the terrorism-related cases in England and Wales, the Counter Terrorism Division also deals with war crimes, Official Secrets Act cases, incitement to racial or religious hatred, hijacking, and genocide.

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  1. For further information contact CPS Press Office, 020 7796 8180.
  2. The Counter Terrorism Division is one of three Central Casework Divisions in the CPS, alongside the Special Crime and Organised Crime Divisions. It was set up in 2005.
  3. This is the first time Counter Terrorism Division has been inspected, although the Casework Directorate, which preceded the three divisions, was inspected in 2002.
  4. High profile cases handled by the Division include the fertiliser bomb plot; the 21/7 conspirators; the training camps case; the London and Glasgow bombings; Daniel James (Official Secrets); the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
  5. Sue Hemming has been the Head of Counter Terrorism Division since it was created.
  6. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority 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
    • Presenting cases at court
  7. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Service. 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 85.1% in 2007-2008. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  8. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol