CPS Bedfordshire staff go back to school in Luton

17/02/2010

A prosecutor and a casework support officer from CPS Bedfordshire will visit Denbigh High School in Luton on 22 February to teach a classroom of 14 and 15 year olds about criminal justice.

The visit forms part of a national CPS Schools Project which was launched by the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, earlier this month.  The project sees CPS staff going into local schools to teach fully interactive lessons to 11-16 year olds which involve the use of audio CD, DVD, visual imagery and even a graffiti wall.

In the first session on 22 February, the students will learn about the Crown Prosecution Service and its role within the criminal justice system, what happens in court, and the special measures available in the courtroom to support them should they ever be a victim or witness of crime.

During the second lesson, which will take place at a later date, the students will be given a fictional case file and will have to make a decision on whether or not to take the case to court based on the available evidence.

CPS Bedfordshire Chief Crown Prosecutor Richard Newcombe said, "The Schools Project has proven to be a great way of ensuring that young people better understand how our criminal justice system works and its clear that the students have really enjoyed the role playing aspect and have learnt about the measures that are available to support victims and witnesses at court. I hope some of them may now be thinking of a career with the CPS as a result."

One of the CPS representatives visiting the school is Associate Prosecutor Cariad Eveson-Webb. She said, "Whilst I am used to standing up in a courtroom, I was unprepared for how nervous I would be about talking to a group of school children about what actually happens there!"  

"The great thing about the lessons is that they really involve the children by getting them to take on the various roles in the court room from defendants to judges.  They also get an insight into some of the evidential difficulties we face every day in making decisions whether to prosecute a case in court."

CPS Casework Support Officer, and fellow teacher for the day, Julie Spencer commented, "It is very rewarding to be able to speak to students about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service in bringing offenders to justice. I hope to explain the importance of victims and witnesses coming to court, and the support available to them in doing so, to help us prosecute cases.  These lessons are really hands on and involve all members of the class. They may be educational but they can also be fun."

The lessons are being delivered at other schools in Bedfordshire over the course of the year.  If you would like more information, please contact Inderpal Kaur-Singh on 0118 908 2509.