New Code for Crown Prosecutors issued

22/02/2010

CPS Bedfordshire Chief Crown Prosecutor Richard Newcombe welcomes the issue today of the updated version of The Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code).

The Code sets out the principles that prosecutors must follow when they decide whether or not to prosecute.

The changes include:

  • A clearer explanation of the public interest factors tending in favour and against prosecution;
  • A clearer explanation of how the public interest stage of the Full Code Test is applied;
  • Prosecutors having a discretion to stop a prosecution in the public interest, in exceptional circumstances, before all of the evidence is available;
  • A fuller section explaining the use of out-of-court disposals for both adults and youths;
  • Prosecutors being able to conduct pre-trial witness interviews when it is needed to assess the reliability of a witness evidence or better understand complex evidence.

Mr Newcombe said, "The Code is a core document for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and an invaluable tool for ensuring that the right principles are applied fairly and consistently when making our decisions in every case that affect the people of Bedfordshire. These changes will help everyone understand how prosecutors make decisions, underpinning our commitment to openness at every stage of the prosecution process."

This edition of the Code reflects changes to legislation and practice since the previous Code was issued in 2004. It complements the Director of Public Prosecution, Keir Stamer QC's  Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard and Core Quality Standards documents. Together, these publications form the basis of his vision for a fair, effective and modern prosecution service.

Mr Newcombe continued, "The role of the prosecutor is constantly evolving. We are striving to liaise much more closely with our local communities here in Bedfordshire to understand their crime and disorder priorities and concerns so we can ensure that we deliver an effective service to them. "

The Code applies to all CPS prosecutors, including those in the new Revenue & Customs Division (formerly RCPO) and Associate Prosecutors, and police officers when making charging decisions.

The CPS is also publishing the Summary of Responses to the public consultation exercise on the draft Code, which sets out in detail the comments that we received and how we have dealt with them.