Attorney General pledges to put Prosecutors at the heart of the Community

18/06/2008

The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland today pledged her commitment to 'putting prosecutors in to the heart of the community'.

Speaking at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Managers Conference today she looked to initiatives across the UK where prosecutors have played a key role in addressing community concerns.

These include prosecutors setting up or attending residents'  meetings and taking action to help confront local crime problems. Prosecutors will advise the police on the range of offences available to tackle offences, the evidential issues and any ancillary orders which may be available. The focus will very much be on responding to communities needs.

Baroness Scotland said: "For some time the CPS has been developing better community engagement working closely with the police and local authorities in addressing peoples concerns. Today I am championing the prosecutor as the community prosecutor. Overwhelmingly positive feedback from communities where the CPS has been working hard to tackle issues such as anti social behaviour suggests that the community prosecutor is a concept that works."

"We are building upon neighbourhood policing, focusing on community justice and working towards people having real public confidence in the justice system. The key to the success is having the prosecutors at the heart of the community, where they can make a real difference to the lives of local people".  

In Thames Valley the CPS has been pivotal in successfully tackling anti social behaviour on the Blackbird Leys estate. In particular the CPS worked closely with the Safer Neighbourhood teams in addressing a problem where a local woman would cause disturbances on the estate night after night. Through CPS involvement the local mental health authority looked in to the matter and the woman was re-housed. The disturbances stopped.

Thames Valley CPS has also been instrumental in tackling crime and racial abuse targeted at Asian taxi drivers in Oxford city centre. Feeling ignored, and the subject of racial abuse - the taxi drivers responded positively to the CPS when they set up a meeting with the local police and local authority to address their concerns. The result was a previously aggrieved and vocal part of the community who understood that they had police, CPS and local authority support.

Baljit Ubhey Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames Valley said These are just a couple of examples of the role that CPS lawyers can play in providing a problem solving approach rather than just making the decision on whether to prosecute or not.  We want to connect with the communities we serve, to understand what is important to them and to reflect their views in the work that we do.

"CPS Thames Valley is working with partner criminal justice agencies on a range of initiatives including an Anti Social Behaviour pilot, and engagement with Muslim communities to find ways to tackle Hate Based Violence and Domestic Violence".