Solicitor General visits CPS in Hertfordshire

19/05/2011

The Solicitor General visited the St Albans Office of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Thames and Chiltern today, Thursday, 19 May, as part of a fact-finding tour around CPS offices in England and Wales.

The Solicitor General, Edward Garnier QC MP, together with the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP, is the Government Minister who superintends the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), along with other prosecuting bodies. They are chief legal advisors to the Government.

During the visit to the CPS office at Queen's House, Victoria Street, the Solicitor was accompanied by Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP) for Thames and Chiltern, Baljit Ubhey OBE.

He saw a presentation on knife crime by Hertfordshire Crown Advocate, Peter Shaw, who acted as junior in a murder trial which concerned the death of a young man tragically stabbed to death.  With the permission of the deceased's family, Peter has since used the incident as a case study to present to thousands of Hertfordshire school children and more recently, to offenders serving their sentence at attendance centres.

The Solicitor heard about the 'C2 Initiative' - the Choices and Consequences Programme, which is an experimental initiative led by the local judiciary. Prolific offenders in acquisitive crime, who would ordinarily face a custodial sentence in excess of four years and who are deemed suitable for the Programme, receive community sentences and intense support from the police and Probation Service as a direct alternative to a custodial sentence of a specified length.

Other presentations included domestic violence, and District Crown Prosecutor Tapashi Nadarajah outlined how the criminal justice agencies have worked together to improve performance in relation to domestic violence cases in Hertfordshire.

The Solicitor heard about prosecution team integrated working and how the CJS in Hertfordshire is characterised by strong partnership arrangements. Both police and CPS staff work together in all three of Hertfordshire's CPS business and witness care units. District Crown Prosecutor William Winters explained how this has been achieved and the benefits which have been realised.

The Solicitor General was also shown around the Optimum Business Models (OBM) structures in operation for magistrates' court and Crown Court cases respectively, in which the Area was the first in the country to achieve a green rating for the implementation.

CCP Baljit Ubhey said: 'We were delighted to welcome the Solicitor General to the Hertfordshire branch of the CPS. It's important he gets a clear understanding of the processes and projects that are taking place across England and Wales, so obviously he needs to see different Areas.

'There is a lot of very good work taking place in Hertfordshire and indeed, across Thames and Chiltern, and it was nice for us to have the opportunity to showcase the CPS in such a good light. I hope the Solicitor found the visit interesting as well as informative.'

The Solicitor General said afterwards: 'I was delighted to meet such dedicated and hard-working staff - lawyers and administrators - who are doing their best in difficult economic circumstances to ensure that the CPS and the CJS work effectively. The prosecution processes and initiatives I heard about today will contribute greatly towards this objective.

'Of course, this means a huge variety of work and puts a good many pressures on the CPS, yet morale was clearly good.' Solicitor General with the CCP and Deputy CCP

 

Photo caption: Solicitor General Edward Garnier QC MP, with Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern, Baljit Ubhey OBE and Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor (Operations), David Robinson.