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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

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

DPP's statement regarding CPS decision on the death of Ian Tomlinson

01/04/2010

I readily accept the responsibility of the CPS to fulfil its duty regarding the investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson. That investigation must be thorough, effective and impartial. And, I am afraid, in this particular case that means that it is taking longer than originally expected.

As we have previously explained, the CPS and the IPCC are currently trying to obtain some further information.  This relates to the expert medical evidence which is crucial to the proper determination of this case.  Both the CPS and the IPCC are working as quickly as is compatible with a careful investigation in this difficult and complex case.

But I acknowledge the frustration and anxiety that Mrs Tomlinson must be experiencing.  In the circumstances, I will be writing to her privately today.

 

Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions

Ends

  1. Media enquiries by phone: 020 7710 8127. Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  2. 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
  3. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are five specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism, Fraud Prosecution, and Revenue and Customs. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  4. The DPP has published his long term vision for the prosecution service and its role within the wider criminal justice system. It includes modernising the service and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice - read "The Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard" at www.cps.gov.uk/pps
  5. 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