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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

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DPP to send specialist asset recovery prosecutors to Spain and Dubai

24/02/2014

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, has today travelled to Madrid, Spain, for a joint UK-Spain Asset Recovery Forum. In a speech to delegates tomorrow, she will outline plans to deprive British criminals abroad of more of their assets. Attendees at the conference include the Spanish Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Martínez, and senior prosecutors and law enforcement officers.

While speaking to the conference tomorrow, the DPP will announce that two new specialist prosecutors will be stationed in Spain and the United Arab Emirates, dedicated to recovering the assets of British criminals. Criminal Justice System data suggests that there is around £200 million worth of criminal assets in the UAE and Spain - not all of which is the responsibility of the CPS.

Alison Saunders said: "Prosecution is not just about punishment - the modern prosecutor can do far more to disrupt criminals than ever before. The proceeds of crime are laundered and used to fund further crime; they are the lifeblood of organised criminals, fraudsters and terrorists. Asset recovery is a means of restricting that blood supply and I'm determined to use it to its full extent."

Over the past decade the amount successfully confiscated from criminals has gone up from £25m to more than £150m a year - with the CPS responsible for recovering more than two thirds of that in 2012/13.

The CPS now plans to deploy up to six specialist lawyers as Asset Recovery Advisors overseas to priority countries, to work directly with local criminal justice agencies and partners in government to improve asset recovery in both the short and longer term. The CPS already have some specialist prosecutors in Egypt, the Caribbean, Italy and elsewhere who do asset recovery work as part of their role, but extra funds have now been made available to finance two new dedicated ARAs in Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

The Director continued: "We know there is more we can do to recover the proceeds of crime - wherever they are hidden - and further improving our performance in this crucial area is a priority for the CPS and for me personally as the Director of Public Prosecutions. Organised criminals have become adept at moving their criminal proceeds across borders in order to prevent their assets from being confiscated - and so we must also work across borders to stop them.

"Asset Recovery Advisors will be dedicated not just to enforcing individual confiscation orders, but also to assisting in changing the legal and operational environment in those countries, to better allow for many more illicit assets to be recovered. Their work will allow us to ramp up our response to asset recovery overseas."

Spain and the United Arab Emirates are particularly important partners for the UK on asset recovery. 60% of the Spanish Asset Recovery Office's work is related to British cases and we have identified 12 priority cases worth more than £10million in criminal assets both there and in Dubai. The UK is the only Western jurisdiction, to our knowledge, to have assets restrained in the UAE, currently valued at approximately 3.6 million Dirhams (£590,000). In Spain there are a number of properties that are restrained and due to be sold, including in Marbella and Benidorm, and significant sums of cash in bank accounts that have been identified for action.

The DPP concluded: "We must and will ensure that we recover the ill-gotten gains of fraudsters, drugs barons and terrorists, wherever they are hidden around the world. International cooperation will be vital to this progress, and I look forward to the challenging work we have ahead."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. 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. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.