Introducing CPS Thames and Chiltern
Welcome to the website of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Thames and Chiltern.
The Crown Prosecution Service was set up in 1986 to prosecute criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.
In undertaking this role the CPS:
- Advises police forces on cases for possible prosecution
- Reviews cases submitted by the police for prosecution
- Determines the charge in all but minor cases
- Prepares cases for court
- Presents those cases at court.
The CPS is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders.
CPS Thames and Chiltern is one of 13 CPS Areas and covers three police force areas; Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Thames Valley (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) and serves a population of approximately 4 million. We work in partnership with our police forces, but are independent of them.
CPS Thames and Chiltern has two offices in St Albans and Reading and is led by me as Chief Crown Prosecutor. I am supported by two Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutors. Together, we take ultimate responsibility for the criminal cases prosecuted by the Area.
My prosecutors follow the Code for Crown Prosecutors, a public document issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions, setting out the general principles they should follow when they make decisions on cases.
The two main considerations for Crown Prosecutors are to ensure there is a public interest to prosecute and that there is sufficient evidence likely to lead to a conviction at court.
The aim of the Area is to be a service that is confident and independent, efficient and effective, becoming truly world class. Everything that we do aims to support victims and witnesses, deliver justice for all, and make our communities safer.
In the financial year 2015-16, CPS Thames and Chiltern prosecuted 25,130 cases in Magistrates' Courts and 5,465 cases in Crown Courts. The conviction rate for this period was 82.1% in Magistrates' Courts and 78.3% in Crown Courts.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders took up post on 1 November 2013, and introduced her three priorities for the Service - our service to victims, casework quality, and ensuring staff have the tools and skills for the job. In August 2016, these priorities were updated to reflect our CPS 2020 plan and vision for the future and are as follows:
- Supporting the success of our people
- Everyone contributing to high quality casework
- Ensuring public confidence that we are fair, effective and independent
- Continuously improving how we work.
Our values are central to these priorities. Together, they will be our focus for the next five years.
The aim of this website is to make the criminal justice system more open and accessible to the people it serves and I hope it provides you with the information you want about our work.
For contact details of our offices please visit our Contacts page
Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS Thames and Chiltern (pictured).
Across the CPS Thames and Chiltern Area there are 278 staff (as at September 2016) comprising of 115 legal staff and 163 administrators.
The Area is structured into teams responsible for cases in the Magistrates' Courts and Crown Courts, specialist casework, and central business functions.
The business in CPS Thames and Chiltern is supported by the Area Business Centre (ABC), which provides support, advice, and guidance. The ABC houses experts in finance; performance; communications; human resources and learning and development; health and safety, security and estates; change and assurance, and equality, diversity and community engagement.
Police Basic Command Units in the CPS Thames and Chiltern Area
- Bedfordshire (2) - Bedford and Luton
- Hertfordshire (1)
- Thames Valley (5) - Oxford, Reading, Slough, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes
Police Headquarters in the CPS Thames and Chiltern Area
- Bedfordshire - Kempston
- Hertfordshire - Welwyn Garden City
- Thames Valley - Kidlington
Magistrates' Courts in the CPS Thames and Chiltern Area
- Bedfordshire - Luton
- Hertfordshire - Stevenage, St Albans and Hatfield Remand Court
- Thames Valley
- Berkshire - Slough, Maidenhead and Reading
- Buckinghamshire - High Wycombe and Milton Keynes
- Oxfordshire - Banbury and Oxford City
Crown Courts in the CPS Thames and Chiltern Area
- Bedfordshire - Luton
- Hertfordshire - St Albans
- Thames Valley - Reading, Oxford, Aylesbury and Amersham