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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 response to Information Commissioner's Office fine

04/11/2015

A CPS spokesperson said: "It is a matter of real regret that sensitive information was not held more securely by our external contractor, and that we, as an organisation, failed to ensure that it was.

"We are grateful that the material was recovered without being accessed by those who stole the computer equipment but accept that this was fortuitous. It is vital that victims of crime feel confident that breaches like this will not happen and, following a full review after this incident, we have strengthened the arrangements for the safe and secure handling of sensitive material."

Background information:

  • In September 2014, three laptops containing a small number of victim testimonies were stolen from the premises of Swan Films, a Manchester based video editing contractor for the CPS.
  • The stolen computers were speedily recovered and we cooperated fully with Greater Manchester Police to achieve this. Once they were recovered it was confirmed that the sensitive material had not been accessed.
  • The CPS contract with Swan Films was immediately terminated following the incident and we have reassessed security arrangements across the CPS in order to ensure that this type of breach does not happen again. All Areas were asked to identify any locally arranged contracts and several security reviews were conducted across the CPS. Procurement guidance was revised to highlight the importance of information security in contracts.

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. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area 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.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly 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.