Advanced Search

Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

Prosecuting crimes involving drugs

The legal restrictions placed on the use of controlled drugs are aimed at preventing drug abuse. The principal offences relating to the misuse of controlled drugs are contained in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

Find out more about prosecution policy for drug offences

CPS statement: Amy Winehouse suspected drug abuse


The Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] today announced that it will not advise criminal proceedings against Amy Winehouse in relation to incidents of suspected substance abuse, depicted on video footage covertly recorded in the early hours of 18 January this year and later passed to the Metropolitan Police Service [MPS]. Following an extensive police enquiry, a file was submitted to the CPS to determine whether anti drugs laws had been broken.

From the footage, we identified and considered two potential offences; possessing a controlled drug and allowing premises to be used for the supply by others of a controlled drug. In order to prove either offence, we had to establish that the substances depicted on the footage were controlled drugs. The footage itself did not establish the nature of the substances and, in the absence of any forensic opportunity or reliable evidence from any witness who could say clearly what the substances were, we concluded we could not establish to the high criminal standard of proof required in a criminal court that they were controlled drugs. We therefore decided there was no realistic prospect of conviction.

  1. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6088.
  2. 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.